The Role of Coincidence in Victorian Literature

Even a small dose of coincidence is needed in a work as lengthy and comprehensive as the novel, but Victorian novels seem more comfortable using it than many modern writers. Some consider that a defect, or put up with it as the artifact of a bygone era: but it might it be more than that? First, examine what "coincidence" actually entails, is it really a bad thing? Second, consider specific cases, such as Dickens, Dracula and Dostoevsky, whose brilliantly constructed novels sometimes make liberal use of coincidence. Might coincidence be an integral component in the success of these novels?

  • This sounds like an intriguing topic and I like the idea of using specific cases of literature to prove your thesis. For whoever chooses to write this topic, it might also be useful to examine how exactly coincidence is seen as a detriment in literature and what made it appear to be undesirable to use for modern writers. – MAG95 4 years ago
  • Perhaps the Victorians were big on fate. There's so much coincidence in Dickens thwt I can picture people,rolling their eyes at a retell ins of one of his stories, but his stories are wonderful and believable. – Tigey 4 years ago
  • You might also examine whether modern writers or genres still use coincidence and if so, how. I'm a published writer for the inspirational market, and in that circle there is a bit of the attitude, "You can pull off anything as long as you explain God was behind it." I tried that in college Creative Writing, and my very understanding professor introduced me to the term deus ex machina. Now I avoid coincidence like the proverbial snake in the garden, but have seen it used successfully. It might be an angle worth exploring. – Stephanie M. 4 years ago

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