This volume brings together the work of major scholars of the Victorian period who in turn bring to bear a variety of approaches to the study of Dickens and his major contemporaries. Subjects in the first section include the influence of contemporary science on "Little Dorrit", the sources for "A Tale of Two Cities", Dickens' developing radicalism as seen in his letters and the work of his imitators in serial fiction. The second section includes a rereading of the work of Tennyson and Browning in the light of recent critical theory, the Unitarian background of Mrs Gaskell, Peacock as a Victorian novelist, the Victorian ideology of family in Goerge Eliot's work, and the literary and cultural ancestry of Virginia Woolf. Emphasis is on connections between Victorian literature and society and highlights the longevity of the Victorian literary period, which embraced Peacock at one extreme and Virginia Woolf at the other. Joan Shattock is also editor of "The Victoriain Periodical Press - Samplings and Soundings".