A Complete Identity
The Youthful Hero in the Work of G. A. Henty and George MacDonald
Imprint: Pickwick Publications
"This remarkable piece of scholarship offers a bold, unexpected, and exciting juxtaposition of G. A. Henty and George MacDonald, exploring their work as part of the same tradition and the product of the same culture and ideology. Apart from examining the two authors, it sheds new light on the Victorian era, children's and adolescent fiction, childhood studies, gender studies, and a whole range of other areas of critical pursuit."
--Maria Nikolajeva, Professor of Education, Professorial Fellow of Homerton College, Cambridge, UK
"Focusing on two ostensibly disparate writers, Rachel Johnson's study, A Complete Identity, admirably describes the multifaceted hero in both realistic and speculative fiction of the Victorian period. Johnson's project is to demonstrate the fluidity of genre and the similarity of vision in writers who are only superficially on opposite sides of literary expression. She does both MacDonald and Henty a service. This is a daring and innovative project, thoroughly researched and engagingly written."
--Roderick McGillis, Emeritus Professor of English, the University of Calgary, Canada
"Scholarly, readable, thorough, and in some ways revolutionary, A Complete Identity is a remarkable contribution to Henty and MacDonald studies. Students of children's literature and Victorian literature and culture will find its close textual readings and its revaluation of the nature of the hero refreshing and highly informative."
--Peter Hunt, Emeritus Professor of English and Children's Literature, Cardiff University, UK
"Rachel Johnson analyzes the works of G. A. Henty and George MacDonald to interrogate the false binary inherent in rigid demarcations that distinguish 'realism' from 'fantasy' in children's literature. She insightfully demonstrates how the fictions of Henty and MacDonald create a dialogue that positions the Victorian hero as both a self-reliant realist and a mythic figure, who is necessarily idealistic in his efforts to uphold the values of Victorian society."
--Roberta Seelinger Trites, Distinguished Professor, Department of English, Illinois State University, Illinois
"Rachel Johnson's A Complete Identity is a deeply and thoroughly researched book which brings refreshing new readings and understandings of the work of G.A. Henty and George MacDonald, plus new ways of thinking about the construction of heroism in the nineteenth century. . . . Rachel Johnson's work strips away cliched thinking and draws the reader closer to discovering the 'true' hero in the nineteenth century."
--Professor Jean Webb, Professor of International Children's Literature, Institute of Humanities & Creative Arts, University of Worcester, UK