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Title: Jane Austen and eight minor contempories :a study in the novel 1800-1820
Authors: Hinson Jones, Hannah
Issue Date: 1979
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This study, which started from the observation that Jane Austen enjoyed only modest success in her day, discusses the novels of some of her highly popular contemporaries in order to indicate the background against which her work was received. To extend knowledge of the fiction of the period, though popular novelists who have remained in critical esteem, are alluded to whenever relevant, it gives chief attention, in individual chapters, to eight once celebrated authors who are now little read. Of these, six were chosen as having been greatly respected, as well as popular, in their day - namely Mary Brunton, Elizabeth Hamilton, Amelia Opie, Lady Morgan, Anna Maria Porterp and Jane Porter. The other two Charlotte Dacre and Thomas Skinner Surr, were added on the criterion of popularity alone, in order that a range of different kinds of novel currently being written might be demonstrated. This includes the historical novel, the national novel, the novel of fashionable life, the gothic novel, the domestic novel, and the specifically Evangelical novel. The study reveals, however, that the Evangelical movement also influenced in various ways, the work of novelists who would never have regarded themselves as Evangelical, and in this connection a central chapter aims to shed new light on Jane Austen's Mansfield Park by considering it in relation to such widely read Evangelical writings as those of Hannah More, William Wilberforce, and Thomas Gisborne. Examination of the work of these minor contemporaries of Jane Austen makes clear what the public expected, what Jane Austen eschewed, and how far she shared certain attitudes of her age. It also reveals how these minor writers contributed to the development of the novel, in ways which were recognised and appreciated in their time. That their subsequent neglect has not been unmerited is evident; indeed frequent reference to Jane Austen throughout the study serves to highlight their artistic weaknesses. Nevertheless, in indicating their small but positive contribution to the novel, this thesis attempts to give them their due.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

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