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Offering a fresh examination of the transition from the Victorian to the modern novel which combines historical perspective and critical analysis, Donald Stone views the decade of the 1880s in England as the best period in which to trace simultaneously the dissolution of the Victorian world and the reorientation toward modern sensibility. He examines the changes in attitude and the transformation of social, political, and philosophical values as reflected in the fiction of the era. As the outstanding novelists of the period whose lives and novels embody the opposing trends of the decade, George Meredith and Henry James are singled out for extensive study.