Compare and contrast the versions of femininity and masculinity presented in Henry Fieldings Joseph Andrews and EITHER Moll Flanders OR Pamela.
Week 1 The Rise of the Novel
We began by exploring the historical context in which the novel as a genre developed.
This included: the rise of literacy; the development of the concept of the i??individuali?? in European thought from 17th century onwards, which was reflected in noveli??s focus on individual experience; increased availability of consumer goods, including books; the increasingly secular nature of printed material that referenced the contemporary world; the development of reading as a i??privatei?? experience, reflecting the focus on the individual and challenging its subordination to the communal ;the growth of urban centres, which inform the narratives of novels as they reflect and promote shifts in peoplei??s consciousness of life and their potential for self-advance and improvement.
We discussed the moral concerns surrounding the novel form, particularly in relation to its effect on women readers.
As a genre, the novel –
Differs from previous literary fiction such as the romance and the epic, by its reflection of a real world and its population of recognisable and individualised characters
Rejects traditional plots, implies plausibility and causality of events
Circumstantial detail to help establish the reality of the world it presents (what Watt describes as i??exhaustive presentationi?? rather than i??elegant concentrationi??).
Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
Significance of his use of language
In Defoei??s laconic, homespun, rough-and-ready language we hear, almost for the first time in literature, the idiom of the people. It is a language stripped of texture and density, so that we can gaze right through the words to the things themselves [i??] A profusion of incident and adventure has to compensate for this lack of texture [i??] There is sensuality in Defoe, not least in Moll Flanders and Roxana, but not sensuousness. Defoei??s realism is a realism of things, whereas Richardsoni??s is one of persons and feelings.i??
Terry Eagleton, The English Novel: An Introduction (Malden, MA and Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005), p. 23
Realist fiction; episodic nature of the novel; pseudo-biographical mode; chronological development; well-rounded and believable characters; focus on the individual.
Gender relations; Crime and punishment; Virtue and vice; Transportation to the American colonies; Perils of city life
Week 2: Pamela by Samuel Richardson
In his i??Preface by the editori?? at the beginning of Pamela, Richardson outlines his objective in the novel, i??[i??] to effect all these good ends, in so probable, so natural, so lively a manner, as shall engage the passions of every sensible reader, and attach their regard to the storyi??.
Watt distinguishes Samuel Richardsoni??s writing from that of the i??sentimentalistsi?? by virtue of the wider emotional range presented in his novels:
What is distinctive about his novels is not the kind or even the amount of emotion, but rather the authenticity of its presentation (Watt, The Rise of the Novel, p.174).
Richardson re-orientates the narrative perspective, delineating domestic life and the private experience of the characters within it. He is distinguished from Defoe in that his circumstantial description is applied to people and sentiments, where Defoei??s is applied to objects
Context: What factors contributed to Richardsoni??s fiction taking this subjective and inward direction?
1) Growth in private domestic space and 2) letter-writing as a private activity
i??His heroines do not and cannot share the life of the street, the highways and the
places of public resort with Defoei??s Moll Flanders.i?? (Watt, p.189)
Epistolary narration was a means of portraying the inner-life of his characters.
Reception of the novel: the Pamelists and the Anti-Pamelists
Week 3 Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding
i??Joseph Andrews is the most overtly literary of the novels associated with the i??rise of the noveli??i?? (Baines, p. 54)
Alongside much realist description, there are allusions to drama, theatrical performance, quotations from Shakespeare. In stark contrast to the pseudo-autobiographical first person mode of Moll Flanders and the supposed subjectivity and immediacy of Pamela, Joseph Andrews foregrounds literary processes throughout i?? Fielding constantly reminds us that we are reading a book as narrator addresses the reader directly, reminds us of where we are in the chapter, and tells us whether the next chapter will entertain us/what to expect in the next one.
The i??extradiegetici?? narrator is not involved in the action of the novel and therefore has a detached perspective. Occasionally admits to not knowing everything that is going on, making comic asides to reader.
I describe not men, but manners; not an individual, but a species, (Fielding states in Book III, Chapter 1)
i??The understanding of i??characteri?? here [in JA] does not have a subtle extended, Jamesian depth, but is derived from the principle Fielding learned in comic drama, that selfhood has to be quickly recognizable and not subject to much change or developmenti?? […] i??Once initially identified, character is all but absolute, even slightly Bunyanesquei?? (Paul Baines, i??Joseph Andrewsi?? in The Cambridge Companion to Henry Fielding, p. 50)
Comparison to Fielding
Fieldingi??s novel has too many characters and too complicated a plot to attach the same importance to individual virtue or vice as Richardson does. In addition, Fielding puts sexual virtue and in a broad moral perspective, in order to broaden the readeri??s moral sense. Fanny and Josephi??s desire for each other is presented as healthy and natural in contrast to what Fielding perceived as the false modesty and duplicitous nature of the dynamic between Mr B and Pamela.
Spatial contexts of the worlds of Moll, Pamela and Joseph Andrews
Defoei??s Moll roams the country and crosses the Atlantic twice.
Pamela moves between two houses, the focus on private domestic space reflecting inward-looking focus of the novel
Fieldingi??s characters are all on the move through the English hinterland of inns, alehouses, villages, woods and fields, all spaces of public encounter and social interaction. This is a traditional metaphor for self-discovery, as in Cervantes.
13 May please