By M. O. Grenby
The French Revolution sparked an ideological debate that introduced Britain to the threshold of its personal revolution within the 1790s. As radicals became to the writing of "Jacobin" fiction, the phobia of uprising triggered conservatives to jot down novels. this can be the 1st ebook to ascertain the level and diversity of Anti-Jacobin fiction. in addition to making a choice on an unparalleled variety of those novels and contemplating what they include, M.O. Grenby investigates why they have been written, specifically by way of ladies, and why they proved to be so renowned.
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Extra resources for Anti jacobean novel
The preface to a novel was also the traditional site for an author’s sycophantic attempts to propitiate the critics, and there must be a suspicion that some authors were emphasising the political mission of their ﬁction merely in the attempt to acquire a degree of respectability in excess of what they might otherwise have been able to hope for. So manifest was their deep ideological commitment, that it would be outrageous to suppose that the likes of More, West or Hamilton were jumping on an anti-Jacobin bandwagon merely for the chance it offered them to absolve their ﬁction’s entrance into a public sphere.
The substance of this abuse is too well known to require repetition, however delectable the put-downs by reviewers, or provocative the selfrighteousness of moralists’ warnings. But the key characteristic of this fear of ﬁction, as with the attacks on Sunday schools and circulating libraries, is that it was built not on concern about the novel in itself, but rather on the question of who was reading it. The apprehension that novels were particularly adapted to those on the edge of the apparently widening circle of readers – that is to say the lower orders and especially women – was what chieﬂy motivated the denunciation of ﬁction.
With herself as primate and one ‘Mary’ – Hays by her description – as her ‘archbishop’, it only remained to pick, from the many available candidates, twentyfour ‘bishops’. When those selected are ‘chieﬂy the writers of sentimental and loving novels’, and yet are largely composed of authors who, both to posterity and their contemporaries, have appeared lacking in any genuinely radical credentials, we can see anti-Jacobin literary paranoia at its height. Whatever the reality of the Jacobin novel it is the panic endemic in its reception that is most signiﬁcant.
Anti jacobean novel by M. O. Grenby