Degrees of Intimacy: Cousin Marriage and the Nineteenth-Century Novel

Document Type



Humming Earth


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Communications and Arts / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications




Durey, J. F. (2014). Degrees of Intimacy: Cousin Marriage and the Nineteenth-Century Novel. Scotland: Humming Earth.


A wide-ranging account of the subtle changes in the portrayal of cousin marriage in 19th Century English Literature, from the early period - in which it was a common practice in the West - through to the century's end, by which time it was condemned by scientists, including Darwin, and the community at large. The book's chronological approach takes into account the key biographical facts of the novelists under scrutiny, most of whom are known for their realistic engagement with world issues. It also examines the plots, themes and characters of many novels, rather than concentrating on close readings of a few works. In a final brief foray into the present, the author emphasises the relevance of 'humanistic studies' to our lives and attitudes today. Both well-known novelists (Austen, the Brontes, Wilkie Collins, Conrad, Hardy and Trollope among them) and lesser known writers feature; there is a full Bibliography, an Index of Fictional Characters and Place Names, and a general Index

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