By Brean Hammond, Shaun Regan
Hammond and Regan increase a brand new cultural examining of the formation of the British novel. Rejecting a teleological narrative of the genre's upward thrust, the examine offers a dynamic photograph of the emergence of the radical, that focuses upon formal innovation, social engagement, and inventive and advertisement pageant.
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Extra info for Making the Novel: Fiction and Society in Britain, 1660-1789
Philander’s excuses pick up on poems written around the same time by the sexually explicit poet, John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, and also by Behn herself – poems concerning ‘imperfect enjoyment’ which play upon the psychological and physiological complexities involved when minds fail to communicate adequately with bodies. There can, certainly, be no doubting Philander’s sexual hunger: I saw (Yes Silvia not all your Art and Modesty could hide it) I saw the Ravishing Maid as much inflam’d as I; she burnt with equal fire, with equal Languishment … her hands that grasp’d me trembling as they clos’d, while she permitted mine unknown, unheeded to traverse all her Beauties.
Bakhtin’s idealism in celebrating the absence of any authoritative, privileged voice in the novel, and in freeing us from the austerity of the classical body, is determined in part by the repressive political circumstances in which he was formulating his theories. One can see only a limited applicability of an analysis like this to the English material that is our main concern in this study. The comic novels that Henry Fielding, Tobias Smollett and Laurence Sterne write in eighteenth-century Britain do certainly owe something to their Rabelaisian and Cervantic precursors, and Sterne in particular might be considered a writer of ‘dialogic’ narratives, which are not clearly dominated by a single, authoritative voice.
To the narrator, for instance, the native South Americans convey ‘an absolute idea of the first state of innocence, before man knew how to sin; and ’tis most evident and plain, that simple Nature is the most harmless, inoffensive and virtuous mistress’ (77). Overlaying them with a template of Biblical and Miltonic conceptions of Eden, the narrator uses the tribespeople to represent a purity that contrasts with the perfidiousness, lack of honour and failure to keep promises that 42 Making the Novel characterizes European society.