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‘Books in my Hands — Books in my Heart — Books in my Brain’: Bibliomania, the Male Body, and Sensory Erotics in Late-Victorian Literature

  • Victoria Mills
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)

Abstract

Robert Browning’s The Ring and the Book (1868–9) documents a bibliophile’s delight in hunting down a book in a bustling Florence flea market. This ‘square old yellow book’ is a jealously guarded find. ‘Give it back!’ the poet commands, allowing the reader possession of the volume for a fleeting moment. The passage suggests a corporeal relationship between collector and object as the book bears traces of the body of its author (his ‘brains, high-blooded’), which transform it into a nostalgic object. Such nostalgia, far from being a ‘social disease’,2 has curative potential that is couched in terms of sensory experience, it is ‘restorative / I’ the touch and sight’.

Keywords

Love Affair Sexual Inversion Genital Sense Private Paper Yellow Book 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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© Victoria Mills 2012

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  • Victoria Mills

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