Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print

Empiricism and the Early Theory of the Novel

Fielding to Austen

Authors: Maioli, Roger

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  • Argues that empiricism was much less receptive to the novel than previously acknowledged
  • Looks at a wide variety of well-known writers, including Henry Fielding,
  • Charlotte Lennox, Laurence Sterne, William Godwin, and Jane Austen
  • Claims that empiricism retained its hold on the novel for much longer than scholars have thus far acknowledged
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Hardcover $119.99
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Softcover $119.99
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About this book

This book is about the empiricist challenge to literature, and its influence on eighteenth-century theories of fiction. British empiricism from Bacon to Hume challenged the notion that imaginative literature can be a reliable source of knowledge. This book argues that theorists of the novel, from Henry Fielding to Jane Austen, recognized the force of the empiricist challenge but refused to capitulate. It traces how, in their reflections on the novel, these writers attempted to formulate a theoretical link between the world of experience and the products of the imagination, and thus update the old defenses of poetry for empirical times. Taken together, the empiricist challenge and the responses it elicited signaled a transition in the longstanding debate about literature and knowledge, as an inaugural round in the persisting conflict between the empirical sciences and the literary humanities.

About the authors

Roger Maioli is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Florida, USA. He holds a PhD in English from Johns Hopkins University and an MA in English Literary Studies from the University of São Paulo. In addition to articles in SEL, Eighteenth-Century Fiction and The Shandean, he authored the first Brazilian translation of Henry Fielding’s Joseph Andrews.

Reviews

“Empiricism and the Early Theory of the Novel explores the impact of the empirical turn in philosophy on how imaginative writing could be justified in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. … Maioli’s conclusion demonstrates how eighteenth-century novel theory prefigures modern arguments about the value of the humanities. … It is a thought-provoking end to a thoroughly engaging book.” (Gillian Skinner, The BARS Review, Issue 52, 2018)

“Maioli’s book takes us back to eighteenth-century debates about the capacity for literature to teach us anything meaningful about the empirical world. … the value of Maioli’s book is that it ensures that we continue to think about why literature is valuable in a world in which it seems that value can never be taken for granted.” (Peter DeGabriele, Modern Philology, Vol. 116 (02), June, 2018)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $89.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-39859-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $119.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-39858-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
Softcover $119.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-81981-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Empiricism and the Early Theory of the Novel
Book Subtitle
Fielding to Austen
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print
Copyright
2016
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (If applicable) and the Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-39859-4
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-39859-4
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-39858-7
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-81981-5
Series ISSN
2634-6516
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXI, 202
Topics