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


If the novel is customarily described as the form best suited to modernity by virtue of its inclusiveness and inconclusiveness, in comparison with the apparent self-containment and finitude of a poem, this logic seems to be inverted when it comes to endings. The inexorable movement in the Victorian realist novel was towards narrative closure (the tyranny of the conventional marriage-plot); the verse-novelist, by contrast, despite a strong sense of the gravitational pull of the traditional happy ending, finds himself at a sufficient distance from the genre’s centre to be able to resist its assimilative power and take plot resolution as an opportunity to complicate, dissect, intensify or subvert the values of the domestic novel.


Modern Life Gravitational Pull Contemporary Life Happy Ending Spiritual Realm 
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  1. 4.
    Stefan Collini (1991) Public Moralists: Political Thought and Intellectual Life in Britain 1850–1930 (Oxford: Clarendon Press), p. 65.Google Scholar
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    Stephen Gill (ed.) (1980) Adam Bede (London: Penguin), p. 223.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Natasha Moore 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Public ChristianityAustralia

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