The Epistolary Novel: Representations of Consciousness

Overview

"The epistolary novel is a form which has been neglected in most accounts of the stylistic development of the novel. This book argues that the way that the eighteenth-century epistolary novel represented consciousness had a significant influence on the later novel." "The letters studied here reveal complex tensions within the divided minds of their writers. The close stylistic analysis presented in this study suggests that the epistolary novel can probe individual psychology in sophisticated depth." Critics have drawn a distinction between the
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EPISTOLARY NOVEL: REPRESENTATIONS OF CONSCIOUSNESS: Representations of Consciousness

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Overview

"The epistolary novel is a form which has been neglected in most accounts of the stylistic development of the novel. This book argues that the way that the eighteenth-century epistolary novel represented consciousness had a significant influence on the later novel." "The letters studied here reveal complex tensions within the divided minds of their writers. The close stylistic analysis presented in this study suggests that the epistolary novel can probe individual psychology in sophisticated depth." Critics have drawn a distinction between the self at the time of writing and the self at the time at which events or emotions were experienced. This book demonstrates that the tensions within consciousness are the result of a continual interaction between the two selves of the letter-writer. It charts the oscillation between these two selves in the epistolary novels of, amongst others, Aphra Behn, Eliza Haywood, Samuel Richardson, Fanny Burney and Charlotte Smith. The final chapter analyses the subtle way in which Jane Austen represents the consciousness of her characters and argues that, like many later novelists, Austen is indebted to the psychological tension and inner conflict which are characteristic of the epistolary novel.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Joe Bray lectures in Literary Stylistics at the University of Stirling, having previously held positions at the Universities of Strathclyde, Cambridge and Luton. He has published on Samuel Richardson and Jane Austen and is co-editor of Ma(r)king the Text: The Presentation of Meaning on the Literary Page (Ashgate, 2000).
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
1 Introduction: consciousness, the novel and the letter 1
2 Sex and politics: the epistolary novel before 1740 29
3 Reserve and memory: Richardson and the experiencing self 54
4 Sentiment and sensibility: the late eighteenth-century letter 81
5 From first to third: Austen and epistolary style 108
6 Postscript: the case of Herzog 132
Notes 138
Bibliography 143
Index 151
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