The introduction offers a new understanding of the politics of institutions and a new transnational account of British realism. The introduction suggests that nineteenth-century British realist novels express the tensions between shared institutional time and unruly anachronisms. In realist novels, especially realist novels in colonial settings, representing how characters inhabit institutions means encountering alternative temporalities and envisioning otherwise possibilities. This introduction makes the case for the importance of nineteenth-century Irish realist novels not only because they exemplify the temporal and political contradictions that define realism but also because their prevalent anachronisms insist that institutional time is not neutral or merely disciplinary: it structures empire.
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