Seductive Forms: Womens Amatory Fiction from 1684 to 1740

Paperback | April 1, 1998

byRos Ballaster

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Historicist and feminist accounts of the `rise of the novel' have neglected the phenomenon of the professional woman writer in England prior to the advent of the sentimental novel in the 1740s. Seductive Forms explores the means by which the three leading Tory women novelists of the lateseventeenth and early eighteenth centuries challenged and reworked both contemporary gender ideologies and generic convention. The seduction plot provided Aphra Behn, Delarivier Manley, and Eliza Haywood with a vehicle for dramatizing their own appropriation of the `masculine' power offiction-making. Seduction is employed in these fictions as a metaphor for both novelistic production (the seduction of the reader by the writer) and party political machination (the seduction of the public by the politician). This challenging and lively book also explores the debts early prosefiction owed to French seventeenth-century models of fiction-writing and argues that Behn, Manley, and Haywood succeed in producing a distinctively `English' and female `form' for the amatory novel.

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Historicist and feminist accounts of the `rise of the novel' have neglected the phenomenon of the professional woman writer in England prior to the advent of the sentimental novel in the 1740s. Seductive Forms explores the means by which the three leading Tory women novelists of the lateseventeenth and early eighteenth centuries challe...

Ros Ballaster is at Mansfield College, Oxford.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.55 inPublished:April 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198184778

ISBN - 13:9780198184775

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I: Gender and Genre1. The Rise of the Novel: Gender and Genre in Theories of Prose Fiction2. Observing the Forms: Amatory Fiction and the Construction of a Female ReaderPart II: Women Writers3. `A Devil on't, the Woman Damns the Poet': Aphra Behn's Fictions of Feminine Identity4. `A Genius for Love': Sex as Politics in Delarivier Manley's Scandal Fiction5. `Preparatives to Love': Fiction as Seduction in Eliza Haywood's Amatory ProseConclusion: The Decline of Amatory Fiction: Re(de)fining the Female FormBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

'Ballaster has read, absorbed, and deployed a remarkable range of critical methods to make sense of this genre. ... Even where she does not manage to make the texts themselves interesting, one reads for the inventiveness of Ballaster's own critical efforts.' Albion