This afterword explores how the arguments in this book relate to the question of literary periodization. This is, without question, a book on Victorian literature, written in the context of Victorian moral thought. From that point of view, it is very much rooted to a specific time and place. On the other hand, many of the arguments and theoretical ideas in this book rely on a certain concept of realism that would seem to extend beyond Britain and beyond the nineteenth century. The closing thoughts of this chapter consider just how much of the book's argument is portable to a larger discussion of literary realism. In so doing, the afterword hopes to elaborate the ways in which the Victorian novel, and the moral thought that attached to it, has continued to influence people's larger sense of how works from the past can seem to be, in some odd way, about them.
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