By A. Stevens
Within the part century sooner than Walter Scott's Waverley, dozens of renowned novelists produced old fictions for circulating libraries. This book examines eighty-five renowned historic novels released among 1762 and 1813, taking a look at how the conventions of the style constructed via a technique of imitation and experimentation.
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Extra info for British Historical Fiction before Scott
The villain of The Hermitage is a treacherous monk and its hero Periander a protoProtestant: ‘The first vestiges of the Reformation had not taken place in this kingdom; yet Periander, from a mind enlarged with learning and benevolence, had embraced certain principles dissenting from the Romish church’ (4). Like Walpole, Hutchinson employs a general mood of gloom and terror punctuated by sensational manifestations of the supernatural such as a suit of armor that comes to life. 1057/9780230275300 - British Historical Fiction before Scott, Anne H.
Although Walpole initially framed his novel as a discovered manuscript, in the second edition he revealed his authorship and added a preface explaining his intentions and taking a position in the literary field. Famously, Walpole claimed that the book ‘was an attempt to blend the two kinds of romance, the ancient and the modern. In the former, all was imagination and improbability: in the latter, nature is always intended to be, and sometimes has been, copied with great success. Invention has not been wanting; but the great resources of fancy have been dammed up, by a strict adherence to common life’ (9).
For at least the two decades preceding these works, novels of contemporary English life dominated the marketplace, especially sentimental imitations of Richardson and comic imitations of Fielding. So why, in the 1760s, did these two novelists independently decide to write new novels set in old places, combining aspects of the modern novel and the ancient romance? 1057/9780230275300 - British Historical Fiction before Scott, Anne H. ) between positions – for example, the position corresponding to a genre like the novel or to a subcategory like the society novel, or from another point of view, the position locating a review, a salon, or a circle as the gathering place of a group of producers.
British Historical Fiction before Scott by A. Stevens