The 1790s

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Abstract

The 1790s are typically distinguished more for the cataclysmic historical events surrounding the French Revolution than for any signal contributions to the history of the novel. But the scarcity of successful works highlights the fact that the novelistic conventions available to writers of the period often proved inadequate to the demands of the historical moment: Insufficiently elastic to accommodate the array of subjects who sought a voice and lacking in explanatory power before the magnitude of current events. The literary shortcomings of the 1790s novel reveal the difficulty of redistributing the resources of literary and political representation in an era in which new populations claimed the rights of man – and woman – and of the citizen. Novelists grappled with the capacity of different literary forms to accommodate the voices of hitherto excluded populations. Granting the disenfranchised a place in the story world marks an expansion of the entities deemed worthy of representation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Companion to the English Novel
Publisherwiley
Pages18-33
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781118607251
ISBN (Print)9781405194457
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

Keywords

  • Class
  • Fictional genre
  • Gothic fiction
  • History
  • Mary Hays
  • Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Revolution
  • William Godwin
  • Women's rights

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