The nineteenth-century novel has always been regarded as a literary form pre-eminently occupied with the written word, but Ivan Kreilkamp shows it was deeply marked by and engaged with vocal performances and the preservation and representation of speech. He offers a detailed account of the many ways Victorian literature and culture represented the human voice, from political speeches, governesses' tales, shorthand manuals, and staged authorial performances in the early- and mid-century, to mechanically reproducible voice at the end of the century. Through readings of Charlotte Bronte, Browning, Carlyle, Conrad, Dickens, Disraeli and Gaskell, Kreilkamp re-evaluates critical assumptions about the cultural meanings of storytelling, and shows that the figure of the oral storyteller, rather than disappearing among readers' preference for printed texts, persisted as a character and a function within the novel. This innovative study will change the way readers consider the Victorian novel and its many ways of telling stories.

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