Revolution and the Form of the British Novel, 1790-1825: Intercepted Letters, Interrupted Seductions

Hardcover | October 1, 1982

byNicola J. Watson

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Whatever happened to the epistolary novel? Why was it that by 1825 the principal narrative form of eighteenth-century fiction has been replaced by the third-person and often historicised models which have predominated ever since?Nicola Watson's original and wide-ranging study charts the suppression of epistolary fiction, exploring the attempted radicalization of the genre by Wollstonecraft and other feminists in the 1790s, its rejection and parody by Jane Austen and Maria Edgeworth, the increasingly discredited role playedby letters in the historical novels of Jane Porter and Walter Scott, and their troubling, ghostly presence in the Gothic narratives of James Hogg and Charles Maturin. The shift in narrative method is seen as a response to anxieties about the French Revolution, with the epistolary, feminized, andsentimental plot replaced by a more authoritarian third-person mode as part of a wider redrawing of the relation between the individual and the social consensus.This is a brilliant and innovative reading of the place of the novel in the reformulation of British national identity in the Napoleonic period, throwing new light on writers as diverse as Hazlitt, Charlotte Smith, Walter Scott, Helen Maria Williams, and Byron.

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Whatever happened to the epistolary novel? Why was it that by 1825 the principal narrative form of eighteenth-century fiction has been replaced by the third-person and often historicised models which have predominated ever since?Nicola Watson's original and wide-ranging study charts the suppression of epistolary fiction, exploring the...

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Whatever happened to the epistolary novel? Why was it that by 1825 the principal narrative form of eighteenth-century fiction had been replaced by the third-person and often historicized models which have predominated ever since? Nicola Watson's original and wide-ranging study charts the suppression of epistolary fiction, exploring the...

Nicola J. Watson is at Northwestern University.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:230 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.79 inPublished:October 1, 1982Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198112971

ISBN - 13:9780198112976

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`Densely argued, clever in its interpretaton of texts - autobigraphical, biographical as well as novelistic - and displaying considerable sophistication in the deployment of contemporary narrative terminology.'History of European Ideas