Amy Levy in Bloomsbury: The Poet as Passenger

  • Ana Parejo Vadillo
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)


After a century of critical demotion, it would not be an exaggeration to say that Amy Levy (1861-1889) has been elevated back into the literary canon. Since the publication in 1993 of Melvyn New’s critical edition of The Complete Novels and Selected Writings of Amy Levy, scholars have not stopped paying critical attention to her poetry, prose, and literary theory. Vital in this revival has been the publication of the first ever book-length biography, Amy Levy: Her Life and Letters by Linda Hunt Beckman (2000), a biography that has stimulated further interest and developments in the field. In 2002, The University of Southampton organised an international colloquium on Levy, and critical editions of Amy Levy’s novels The Romance of a Shop (1888) and Reuben Sachs (1888), edited by Susan Bernstein, are forthcoming from Broadview Press. As Emma Francis and Cynthia Scheinberg have argued, Levy’s work is receiving so much critical attention because, as Scheinberg puts it, ‘so many of the issues she addresses in her writing speak to concerns of the contemporary critical moment: Jewish Diasporic identity, lesbian identity, women’s emancipation, and more general theories of “otherness” within the English literary tradition’.3 But, in addition, I would suggest, the subject of Amy Levy is an important one now because she is increasingly being recognized as crucial to our understanding of the fin-de-siècle period, since her writings challenge the way in which we think about the interconnections between the discourses of gender and race in British aestheticism and the New Woman novel.


British Museum Urban Dweller Modern Life Urban Life Woman Writer 
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© Ana Parejo Vadillo 2005

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  • Ana Parejo Vadillo

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