By Stephen Arata, Madigan Haley, J. Paul Hunter, Jennifer Wicke
"Explores the heritage, evolution, genres, and narrative parts of the English novel, whereas chronicling its improvement from the early 18th century to the current day"--
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Additional resources for A Companion to the English Novel
14 Patricia Meyer Spacks return from enforced travel of the man to whom she had long before lost her virginity. Married to him, mother of a son, she announces herself a champion of morality. In the novel’s final paragraph, she reports how her husband takes their son to a brothel in order to familiarize him “with all those scenes of debauchery, so fit to nauseate a good taste” (Cleland 1999, 188). Her memoir implicitly serves a comparable function. The notion of hypocrisy as usually defined hardly applies.
In the process, they expose the ten sions between the communities imposed through institutions (the franchise, the courts, economic structures) and those constituted through the bonds of kinship, custom, or sentiment. The gap between the emotional claims of sentimental figures and the reasoned assertion of political rights accounts for the generic fissures in many texts of the period, as texts struggle to convert the wrongs described in texts into rights to be affirmed. The forms of subject construction to be found in novels of the 1790s thus raise ques tions about whether the attribution of psychological depth also confers the preroga tives of the citizen: whether the progressive developmental model suggested by the pedagogical aims of many of these texts can call into being the kind of rights‐bearing subject the radical novel celebrates.
The young protagonist acquires prudence – capacity to discriminate in moral and in practical matters – from his adventures and misadventures; he can therefore be endowed with wealth and social position and marry his beloved Sophia. Yet this happy ending, like the endings of other 1740s novels of experience, has its shadows, hinting that experience will not suffice to protect against the world’s evils. Recognizing and exposing corruption change nothing at all. Endless negotiation succeeds Pamela’s fairy‐tale marriage; her husband proves imperfect.