This review article begins with a brief history of neo-Victorianism and discusses how Tom Phillips’s ongoing project A Humument (1966-), which incorporates W. H. Mallock’s little-known A Human Document (1892), can be considered a representative neo-Victorian novel. The article then theorises A Humument as a “book-eating book” and argues that this notion of cannibalism can be applied to the understanding of the neo-Victorian genre as a whole: in the same way that A Humument has been living off A Human Document, neo-Victorian fiction generally can be seen as having been consuming and revising the same finite stock of nineteenth-century texts (or authors-as-texts). The article suggests that this cannibalistic relationship is fundamental to the genre – it is not an option for neo-Victorian writers not to be cannibalistic.
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|Published - 1 Oct 2016