The Mystery of History:

To Say Nothing of the Dog as Neo-Victorian Fiction


  • Ann F. Howey Brock University, Ontario


Connie Willis, detection, humour, (mis)quotation, (mis)reading, neo-Victorian fiction, time travel, To Say Nothing of the Dog


This article analyses Connie Willis’s 1998 time-travel novel To Say Nothing of the Dog through the lens of neo-Victorian studies. It argues that the novel’s humour and its characteristically neo-Victorian concern with the relationship of past and present develop in tandem through its representation of reading and quotation practices. Reading and quoting emphasise the textual nature of the past and draw attention to the problems of interpretation, as characters’ (mis)readings and (mis)quotations exaggerate and thus make visible the difficulties of definitively reading the past.