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"40 RADICAL NOVELS..."

9/14/2007 —

Please plan on joining us for the first in our Faculty Forum 40th Anniversary Edition lecture series on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., held in the Vairo Library Lounge.
 
Presented by Arnold Markley, Associate Professor of English, “40 Radical Novels of the Late 18th Century and the Roots of Modern Reform” will focus on a variety of early novels that were intended to initiate political and social reform in areas such as women’s rights, abolition, the Jewish question, and the leveling of the class system in Britain by converting the opinions of the individual reader, one reader at a time.
 
In Dr. Markley’s words … 
 
“In the decade following the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, vigorous debates on political reform and human rights dominated British literature.  These debates dramatically altered the development of British fiction as progressive writers began to turn to the novel as a potential tool for persuading an ever-widening popular readership to embrace political and social change, and as conservatives countered by using the novel to praise the virtues of tradition and to decry the evils of change.  In this talk I will discuss my research relating to 40 long-forgotten and rarely studied novels published between 1788 and 1805 in which writers attempted to use fiction as a means of effecting social change.  These novelists turned their energies to a long list of social and political conventions in need of improvement, from problems with English law and the prison system, to the abolition of slavery and the slave trade, to the treatment of Jews and other racial minorities in Britain, to the rights and exploitation of women.  Many expressed anxieties about more specific evils they saw in contemporary society, particularly among the upper classes, such as the rampant contemporary passion for gambling, the persistence of dueling despite laws attempting to stop the practice, and the ease with which the upper classes could exploit and manipulate the law, particularly those laws concerned with the inheritance of property.”

Click here for information about upcoming presentations in this series.

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