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The ‘latent seeds of coquetry’: Amatory Fiction and the 1750s Novel

Batchelor, Jennie E (2010) The ‘latent seeds of coquetry’: Amatory Fiction and the 1750s Novel. In: Carlile, Susan, ed. Masters of the Marketplace: British Women Novelists of the 1750s. Lehigh University Press and Boydell and Brewer, Cranbury, US. ISBN 978-1-61146-012-4. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:40645)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)

Abstract

Discussions about the development of the novel often jump directly from the 1740s, when Richardson and Fielding were particularly successful, to the 1770's, when women supposedly entered the marketplace in greater numbers. The little scholarship that focuses on the British novel in the 1750s has primarily addressed male output and concluded that the genre was faltering and in danger of extinction. Masters of the Marketplace is the first volume specifically to assess the importance of the 1750s in literary history and to argue that women novelists engaged in critical renovation of the novel as a genre and reclaimed it as a proto-feminist project. This book highlights how these women controlled their literary circumstances, mining their prospects and nimbly responding to the changing literary marketplace, the emergent domestic ideals, varied reader responses, shifting notions of genre, and new developments in epistemology. Their texts spoke in more pointed ways to societal inadequacies, and their use of amatory and sentimental fiction, two categories often ridiculed, in fact produced transgressive results. Thus they were masters of, rather than mistresses to, a rapidly changing publishing world. Indeed, in the 1750s women and men's novel output was nearly equal. The most prolific women authors of this decade, Sarah Fielding, Charlotte Lennox, and Sarah Scott, were among the ten top producers of new fiction. Thus, women novelists had arrived at a crucial intersection in literary history when their interest in fostering public personae merged with a more amenable marketplace. This collection of essays shows how women took advantage of the brief window of opportunity and made an essential contribution to literary history.

Item Type: Book section
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English philology and language
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Jennie Batchelor
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 00:05 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 04:09 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/40645 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Batchelor, Jennie E: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8547-0145
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