DOI

10.17077/etd.5s8fbf8g

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Degree

Summer 2018

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

English

First Advisor

Eric Gidal

First Committee Member

Lori Branch

Second Committee Member

Adam Hooks

Third Committee Member

Roland Racevskis

Fourth Committee Member

Kevin Kopelson

Abstract

This study examines three 18th-century novels and their connection to the romances of the 17th century, the middle ages, as well as the Greek romances that flourished during the Roman Empire. I argue that the novel and the romance differ, not because the novel possesses some intrinsic formal, structural, or thematic essence wholly and disjunctively different from the romance, but rather because the two forms have been arbitrarily differentiated over a long contentious history for ideological and not categorical reasons. Thus, I define the novel not as a form or a genre, but as a mode and medium—a way and means of expressing story rather than as a structural, shaping category of story. Romance, on the other hand, is a type of story particularly interested in how to deal with difference. It asks: How do I deal with difference without annihilating or exiling it or myself in the process? When the romance gets subsumed into the novel as the dominant mode of prose fiction, it re-inscribes this ethical aspect of the romance’s structure through the use of resembling conventions and tropes.

In analyzing how resemblances are treated in three 18th-century novels—Charlotte Lennox’s The Female Quixote, Sophia Lee’s The Recess, and Eliza Haywood’s Love in Excess—my dissertation focuses on the novel’s re-use of the romance to explore anxieties about difference and sameness, about moral issues related to personhood, and about the tension between the individual and the collective. These texts ask: How do we cope with and incorporate the difference of the other when privilege in rank and perception is assumed by the subjective self? This question informs familiar and social relations of all kinds. It illuminates the 18th century’s scientific assumption that reality can be dissected via objective observation. It influences views of aesthetics, of gender and sexual politics, of creativity and the conflation of originality with novelty and of repetition with derivativeness.

Keywords

Eighteenth-Century, Haywood, Lennox, Novel, Resemblances, Romance

Pages

vii, 202 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 183-202).

Copyright

Copyright © 2018 Angela Rose Toscano

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