Ian Watt’s The Rise of the Novel (1957) remains one of the most influential texts in the study of the English novel. However, an increasingly strong case for a revision of both the work itself and the discourse it personifies has been gradually building over the past twenty years. While the initial stages of, first, feminist and, later, post colonial perspectives may have sought only to insert marginalised texts into the existing literary discourse, their long term ramifications are obliging a wider analysis of how we approach the English novel and the manner in which we link it to its surrounding culture. Its exploration reveals the methods with which we trace our histories, what we choose to include and exclude the positions from which we do so. A key to the structure of this discourse lies in the critical fortunes of Aphra Behn, from her feminist ‘rediscovery’ in the early eighties, through the post colonial informed revisions of the early nineties, and into the rising push for the redefinition of literary history. The complications that have surrounded her indicate the merits and failures of the study of the novel, providing avenues for the development of the discourse as a whole.
In approaching such issues one will invariably need to begin with Ian Watt. David Blewett claims that The Rise of the Novel casts a shadow “so long that general studies of the early novel are still written in its shade” (p.141). Its central “realization that the novel’s rise has long been a defining feature of the modern world” (Carnochan, p.184) seems to remain largely unchallenged. On similar terms Michael Seidal argues that ‘Watt’s greater contribution remains his ...
... middle of paper ...
...t American Novel: Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko” Nineteenth-Century Fiction v38 n4 (1984) 384‑414.
Todd, Janet, “Behn’s Fiction and the Restoration Letter” Eighteenth-Century Fiction v12 n2-3 (2000) 391–416.
——, The Secret Life of Aphra Behn (London: Andre’ Deutsch, 1996).
Warner, William B, Licensing Entertainment: The Elevation of Novel Reading In Britain, 1684–1750 (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1998).
——, “Staging Readers Reading” Eighteenth-Century Fiction v12 n2‑3 (2000) 391–416.
Watt, Ian, The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding (London: Chatto and Windus, 1957).
Woolf, Virginia, A Room of One’s Own (1929; rpt, Triad/Panther Books: Frogmore, 1977).
Wyrick, Laura, “Facing up to the Other: Race and Ethics in Levinas and Behn” Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation v40 i3 (1999) 206‑220.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Kind Fortune in Aphra Behn's The Rover Fortune governs people's lives -- a reasonable conclusion considering the continuing presence of billboards advertising palm readers, colorful displays of horoscopes in magazines, and late night commercials marketing tarot card readings for only two dollars a minute. In her farcical comedy The Rover, Aphra Behn traces the fates of ladies of fortune, ladies of the night, men of honour, and men of disrepute as that sneaky rogue called Love entangles their lives.... [tags: Aphra Behn Rover Essays]
654 words (1.9 pages)
- Women and Men in Aphra Behn's "The Rover" Act one of the rover opens with two scenes which indicate that men and women occupy very different spheres. Compare and contrast the men and women in Act 1 scene1 and Act 1 scene 2. Aphra Behn sets the first scene of her play within a chamber in order to introduce a domestic sphere, allowing the audience to gain direct information about the characters and their inner views and ideas as they are hidden from the outside world. Consequently Behn is able to communicate to the audience the difficulties of a patriarchal society, this is portrayed by Helena and Florinda’s behaviour towards their brother, Pedro, who although maintains status due to his gend... [tags: Aphra Behn Rover Essays]
1596 words (4.6 pages)
- Aphra Behn's Poem "To the Fair Clarinda" In her poem “To the fair Clarinda,” Aphra Behn writes of a companionship between the speaker and Clarinda. This paper will attempt to prove that Clarinda is a hermaphrodite instead of a woman as is popularly believed, thus completely changing the meaning of the poem. In the first few lines, the speaker decides to call Clarinda “Lovely Charming Youth” (4) instead of “Fair lovely Maid” (1). The speaker says that the name will “lessen my constraint” (6). This could refer to the sexual feelings that are holding her back because of the womanly part of Clarinda.... [tags: Aphra Behn Fair Clarinda Essays]
709 words (2 pages)
- A Patriarchic Society in Aphra Behn's The Rover In her play The Rover, Aphra Behn uses the treatment of women to suggest the presence of a strong patriarchic society and what harm can become of it. The main female character Florinda is manipulated, used, and treated horribly by men in instances of near-rape, battering and beating, and foul language among other things. Behn also uses Willmore, one of the main male characters, and his attitude towards women to prove her point. By doing this, Behn is suggesting patriarchy is dangerous for women, and their lack of fighting against it presupposes what can happen to women over time if this strong patriarchic society is allowed to flourish.... [tags: Aphra Behn Rover Male Dominance Essays]
1108 words (3.2 pages)
- In Aphra Behn 's The Rover, the gender roles in society are particularly divisive. Gender roles were a major focus throughout the Restoration and especially in this play. The main conflict of the play is the attempt of Helena, Florinda ,and Angellica Bianca to avoid the fate their families have chosen for them.The play comes to the conclusion that there were only two “patriarchal definitions” of women: either that of a virgin or a whore. We see both of these in each of the major female characters and it seems important to note that there seemed to be no middle ground in terms of the way women were perceived.... [tags: Gender, Woman, Gender role, Rape]
1681 words (4.8 pages)
- Originally published in 1688, Aphra Behn’s groundbreaking novel Oronooko remains a rich artifact for decoding the context and era in which it was written in. When Oroonoko had first been published, the basic concept of the novel as a writing technique was still in early experimental stages. Aphra Behn, though, through countless stylistic techniques and interwoven patterns, seamlessly wrote one of the earliest and most important novels of all time. This essay will elaborate upon such stylistic traits and patterns and further the reader’s understanding of not only the novel, but also what Oroonoko really said about the culture of the time period.... [tags: Literary Techniques, Writing Styles]
1427 words (4.1 pages)
- European Superiority in Oroonoko Throughout Aphra Behn's Oroonoko, we can see the comparison between European and African culture occurring in many places. In a majority of the imagery, Behn's attitudes can be seen behind the text weighing heavily toward portraying European characteristics as socially more admirable. Oroonoko's introduction acquaints us with a person so refined in every way as to be almost god-like. Every feature of this great warrior-prince is shown in detail to be the most beautiful one could hope to behold.... [tags: Behn Oroonoko Essays]
593 words (1.7 pages)
- Oroonoko – Slaughter of the Human Spirit Aphra Behn introduces her characters in Oroonoko as beautiful people who possess a pure, innocent love. Behn does this in an effort to make her readers feel and question. Her poetic description of their emotions magnify the horror of the final scene. Behn's romantic love story is brought to a tragic end through brutality and death. Why did she choose such an ending? Her decision to have Oroonoko take the life of his wife and unborn child leaves her audience questioning. Was what they had love? If not, what was it? What had killed their innocence.... [tags: Behn Oroonoko Essays]
1157 words (3.3 pages)
- In the 17th century a writer named Aphra Behn emerged as leader in English literature. With a shaky beginning, Behn persevered to become the first female professional writer. With her feminist opinions, she revolutionized writing and her impacts in the 17th century would change modern day writing. Behn was a clever writer who wrote lively, vibrant plays and poetry. Behn impacted the world, not only with her writing, but also with her determination and voice about her feminist opinions. Behn showed strength and courage by persevering through her struggles and tragedies.... [tags: feminism, female writer, literature, leadership]
916 words (2.6 pages)
- Aphra Behn, who is the first female to achieve status of a professional playwright attempted to alter and influence the literary cannon through her writing, which was a precarious occupation but allowed literature to evolve in a wider range. Behn was also one of the wittiest and entertaining as evidenced through her most renowned play, The Rover, which is a restoration, yet dark comedy set in 17th century Italy while under the colonial reign of Spain. The large cast of characters becomes embroiled in scenes and consist a mix of themes of infidelity, seduction, misrepresentation, and elaborate swordplay, which create tension and confusion in addition to many comedic episodes.... [tags: Literary Analysis, The Rover]
1497 words (4.3 pages)
- Garveyism and Rastafarianism
- Marcus Mosiah Garvey
- Biography of Marcus Mosiah Garvey
- Discontent Expressed through Blues, Jazz, Reggae, and Hip-hop
- Reggae As Social Change:The Spread of Rastafarianism
- Oppression and Resistance in Jamaican Reggae and Afro-Brazilian Music A Comparative Study of Race in Music and Culture