[Adapted from Victorian Types, Victorian Shadows: Biblical Typology in Victorian Literature, Art, and Thought, 1980. Full text]

John R. Reed convincingly argues that both Victorian and modern fiction retains "conventions of character" analogous to earlier ones:

Our stylizations are largely Freudian, as Victoriansą were moral and physiognomical, and earlier centuriesą were humorous or canonical.... In Victorian literature what we would call realistic motivation is often incorporate with type fulfillment. Characters do not act according to a system of humors or ruling passions, nor are they moved by the complexes and neuroses of the twentieth-century man; instead, they exhibit predictable combinations of attributes which result in conventional types. (14)

Within this kind of typology (which, incidentally, is not a symbolic mode) a character is said to fulfill a type when he or she completes a recognized pattern; say, the lonely maiden or the orphan child; and such completing of a pre-established pattern bears a minor resemblance to the operations of scriptural typology.

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Last modified 1998