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03 Dec 2012
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£53.00
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9780230343139
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

The essays gathered together in Reading Historical Fiction: The Revenant and Remembered Past examine historical fiction from the eighteenth century to the present day. The collection addresses a number of focal points in recent scholarly debates about the genre, including defining and locating its origins, the formal distinctions between early historical fiction and modern examples, and the implications of different modes for representing the past, such as critical distance and affective identification. The essays bring a fresh perspective to these debates by shifting focus to the role readers play in mediating the relationship between past, present and future.
 
The collection includes essays that concentrate on a range of texts by authors such as Daniel Defoe, Jane Austen, Lord Byron, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, John Fowles and A.S. Byatt, together with work by authors not usually considered in studies of historical fiction, such as William Morris, Ellis Cornelia Knight, Ann Radcliffe, and Sophie Gee. The essays examine the range of interpretative positions that can be assumed in relationship to the past, and situate historical novels, plays and poems in relation to scholarly historical narratives, mythologies and visual representations of history. Structured to resist conventional literary periodisation, the collected essays imitate fiction's own formal multi-perspectivity, bringing claims about historical representations and the methodologies used to examine them to bear on each other.


Description

The essays gathered together in Reading Historical Fiction: The Revenant and Remembered Past examine historical fiction from the eighteenth century to the present day. The collection addresses a number of focal points in recent scholarly debates about the genre, including defining and locating its origins, the formal distinctions between early historical fiction and modern examples, and the implications of different modes for representing the past, such as critical distance and affective identification. The essays bring a fresh perspective to these debates by shifting focus to the role readers play in mediating the relationship between past, present and future.
 
The collection includes essays that concentrate on a range of texts by authors such as Daniel Defoe, Jane Austen, Lord Byron, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, John Fowles and A.S. Byatt, together with work by authors not usually considered in studies of historical fiction, such as William Morris, Ellis Cornelia Knight, Ann Radcliffe, and Sophie Gee. The essays examine the range of interpretative positions that can be assumed in relationship to the past, and situate historical novels, plays and poems in relation to scholarly historical narratives, mythologies and visual representations of history. Structured to resist conventional literary periodisation, the collected essays imitate fiction's own formal multi-perspectivity, bringing claims about historical representations and the methodologies used to examine them to bear on each other.


Reviews

'This collection has range, variety and contemporary interest and will do much to re-frame debates about historical fiction. It brings together a range of approaches and texts and a group of distinguished critics to offer fresh insight and will make a mark.' - Linda Anderson, Professor of Modern English and American Literature, Newcastle University, UK


Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgements
Notes on Contributors
Introduction: 'Reading the Represented Past: History and Fiction from 1700 to the Present; K.Mitchell & N.Parsons
Learning to Read the Past in the Early Historical Novel; A.Stevens
Temporal Systems in Representations of the Past: Contingency, Free Will and Irony in Historical Fiction; H.Dalley
'All histories are against you?': Family History, Domestic History and the Feminine Past in Northanger Abbey and Persuasion; M.Spongberg
Rereading Hogarth and Pope: Authenticity and Academic Fictions of the Eighteenth Century; J.Ward
'Panoramic Byron: Reading, History and Pre-cinematic Spectacle; H.Groth
'The Painted Record' in George Eliot's Historical Novel Romola; K.Marler-Kennedy
Reading and Remembering History in Daniel Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year; N.Parsons
The Gothic Reader: History, Fear and Trembling; D.Wallace
Notes towards a Poethics of Spectrality: The Examples of Neo-Victorian Textuality; J.Wolfreys
Dickens and Ways of Seeing the French Revolution: A Tale of Two Cities; J.Mee
The Uses of History: The Historical Novel in the Post-French Revolution Debate and Ellis Cornelia Knight's Marcus Flaminius (1792); F.Price
The Living Past and the Fellowship of Sacrificial Violence in William Morris's A Dream of John Ball; I.Hanson
Bibliography
Index


Authors

KATE MITCHELL is a Lecturer in English at the Australian National University. Her research is focused on nineteenth- and twentieth century literary and cultural history, neo-Victorian fiction and the historical novel. She is author of History and Cultural Memory in Neo-Victorian Fiction: Victorian Afterimages (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).
NICOLA PARSONS is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her research is focused on eighteenth-century literature and cultural history, with a special interest in reading practices and gendered literary histories. Her first book, Reading Gossip in Early Eighteenth-Century England (Palgrave, 2009), concentrates on texts by Delariver Manley, Daniel Defoe, Richard Steele, Edmund Curll and Jane Barker.