Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
This thesis seeks to examine the representations of reading in the Romantic novel. William Godwin‰Ûªs Caleb Williams, Jane Austen‰Ûªs Northanger Abbey, and Walter Scott‰Ûªs Waverley are all novels peopled with readers: these readers are both fictional (i.e., Caleb Williams, Ferdinando Falkland, Catherine Morland, and Edward Waverley) and ‰ÛÏreal‰Û or exterior to the novel. And so, the interest of Godwin, Austen, and Scott in reading practices is not merely limited to the world of fiction: the representations of reading in these three novels is related to socio-political anxieties associated with the power of reading. Caleb Williams, Northanger Abbey, and Waverley are all novels that participate in the late eighteenth-century project or ‰ÛÏelevation of the novel,‰Û a project that sought to define the form of the Novel against that of the Romance. Ultimately, the preoccupation with reading in these three novels is both formal and historical: although Godwin, Austen, and Scott were all aware that the ‰ÛÏage of chivalry‰Û had ended by the late eighteenth-century, the powerful residual effects of chivalry, in the form of the Romance, continue to haunt the Novel.
Hutchings-Goetz, Tracey, "Reading Novels: Romance Residue & The Early Novel" (2011). Honors Theses. 40.