New Testaments: Cognition, Closure, and the Figural Logic of the Sequel, 1660-1740

New Testaments: Cognition, Closure, and the Figural Logic of the Sequel, 1660-1740

by Michael Austin


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Friday, October 18


In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, popular works of literature attracted—as they attract today—sequels, prequels, franchises, continuations, and parodies. Sequels of all kinds demonstrate the economic realities of the literary marketplace. This represents something fundamental about the way human beings process narrative information. We crave narrative closure, but we also resist its finality, making such closure both inevitable and inadequate in human narratives. Many cultures incorporate this fundamental ambiguity towards closure in the mythic frameworks that fuel their narrative imaginations. New Testaments: Cognition, Closure and the Figural Logic of the Sequel, 1660-1740 examines both the inevitability and the inadequacy of closure in the sequels to four major works of literature written in England between 1660 and 1740: Paradise Lost, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Robinson Crusoe, and Pamela. Each of these works spawned sequels, which—while often different from the original works—connected themselves through rhetorical strategies that can be loosely defined as figural. Such strategies came directly from the culture’s two dominant religious narratives: the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible—two vastly dissimilar works seen universally as complementary parts of a unified and coherent narrative.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611493641
Publisher: University of Delaware Press
Publication date: 11/17/2011
Pages: 180
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Michael Austin is provost, vice president for Academic Affairs, and professor of English at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction ix

Chapter 1 Narrative Closure as a Cognitive Problem 1

Chapter 2 God's Sequel 17

Chapter 3 "His Great Duel, not of Arms": Davidic Typology and Rhetorical Combat in Paradise Regained 39

Chapter 4 The Figural Logic of the Sequel and the Unity of The Pilgrim's Progress 59

Chapter 5 "Jesting with the Truth": Figura, Trace, and the Boundaries of Fiction in Robinson Crusoe and its Sequels 79

Chapter 6 Everybody's Story: Pamela as Type 103

Conclusion 123

End Notes 129

Works Cited 145

Index 157

About the Author 163

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews