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07 Oct 2009
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£61.00
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9780230546714
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

Reading Gossip in Early Eighteenth Century England is an innovative account of eighteenth century literature that establishes the productive role of gossip. Identifying Queen Anne's England (1702-1714) as a crucial moment in gossip's public life, Parsons demonstrates that gossip mediated the cultural and political demands of secrecy and openness and modeled an interpretative strategy that shaped readers' participation in both literary culture and in public debates. Focusing on the reader as both an individual agent and a rhetorical figure, Reading Gossip offers new accounts of texts by Delarivier Manley, Daniel Defoe, Edmund Curll and Jane Barker, and provides the first analysis of reading practices in the crucial decades between early modernity and the British enlightenment.


Description

Reading Gossip in Early Eighteenth Century England is an innovative account of eighteenth century literature that establishes the productive role of gossip. Identifying Queen Anne's England (1702-1714) as a crucial moment in gossip's public life, Parsons demonstrates that gossip mediated the cultural and political demands of secrecy and openness and modeled an interpretative strategy that shaped readers' participation in both literary culture and in public debates. Focusing on the reader as both an individual agent and a rhetorical figure, Reading Gossip offers new accounts of texts by Delarivier Manley, Daniel Defoe, Edmund Curll and Jane Barker, and provides the first analysis of reading practices in the crucial decades between early modernity and the British enlightenment.


Reviews

'Nicola Parsons' Reading Gossip is an important revision of Jürgen Habermas's account of the emergence of the public sphere in eighteenth-century England. In provocative readings of works by Manley, Defoe, and Steele, Parsons demonstrates how somatic and discursive regimes of power were implicated with non-normative discourses such as gossip and scandal. Parsons has written an original book that will be of interest to literary and political historians of early eighteenth-century England.' - John Richetti, A.M. Rosenthal Professor (Emeritus) of English, University of Pennsylvania, USA
 
'Reading gossip involves negotiating methodological challenges. Gossip is, by definition, transient. Its natural media—whispers, tea table conversations and personal correspondence— are difficult or impossible for modern readers to access. It is generically awkward, related to literary forms such as the early novel and periodical literature but requiring a different kind of scholarly treatment. In Reading Gossip in Early Eighteenth-Century England, Nicola Parsons confronts these challenges to produce an original, insightful literary, political and cultural account of the reign of Queen Anne. Her book not only provides fresh perspectives on particular literary works... but also allows Parsons to tell a new story about the relationship between reading and political culture during this period.' - Rebecca Bullard, Review of English Studies


Contents


Acknowledgments
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Queen Anne's Bounty
Gossip and Government: Deciphering the Body of the State
Reading Secrets of State: Delarivier Manley and the New Atalantis
Reforming Reference: Trials and Texts
Lucubrating London: The Tatler and the Female Tatler
A Newer Atalantis: Political and Generic Revolutions
Conclusion: Anne's Legacy
Notes
Bibliography
Index


Authors

NICOLA PARSONS is a Lecturer in Eighteenth Century Literature at the University of Sydney, Australia.