Eighteenth-Century Genre and Culture: Serious Reflections on Occasional Forms: Essays in Honor of J. Paul Hunter

Eighteenth-Century Genre and Culture: Serious Reflections on Occasional Forms: Essays in Honor of J. Paul Hunter

Eighteenth-Century Genre and Culture: Serious Reflections on Occasional Forms: Essays in Honor of J. Paul Hunter

Eighteenth-Century Genre and Culture: Serious Reflections on Occasional Forms: Essays in Honor of J. Paul Hunter

Synopsis

This collection of essays, including contributions by Paula Backscheider, Martin C. Battestin, and Patricia Meyer Spacks -- examines the relationships between history, literary forms, and the cultural contexts of British literature from the late seventeenth to the late eighteenth century. Topics include print culture and the works of Mary, Lady Chudleigh; the politics of early amatory fiction; Susanna Centlivre's use of plot; novels by women between 1760 and 1788; and the connection between gender and narrative form in the criminal biographies of the 1770s.

Excerpt

Once upon a time, and not so long ago, J. Paul Hunter gave a plenary talk at an eighteenth-century conference and was introduced with the question: “Who in this room has not asked Professor Hunter to write a letter of recommendation, to read a manuscript, to give some professional advice, or to mediate an argument?” (Much laughter.) Paul Hunter not only has influenced the directions of eighteenth-century studies, he also has strengthened the community of its scholars. His originality and rigor, his energy and generosity, his judgment and tact, have drawn round him peers, colleagues, students, and friends who admire in him the qualities that distinguish our profession at its very best. This collection of essays attempts to repay in some small measure the debts we all so happily owe him.

Paul’s first major publication was The Reluctant Pilgrim: Defoe’s Emblematic Method and Quest for Form in Robinson Crusoe (1966), a work that explores the novel’s indebtedness to Puritan habits of thinking and writing, and particularly to the Puritan emblematic tradition. It remains one of the most influential contributions to Defoe studies of the last half century, continually cited and frequently reprinted. Even more clearly today than when it was first published, we recognize its place among that handful of works which inaugurated our current vigorous reconsideration of the historical and textual origins of the novel.

Paul extended his investigations into the relationships between genres and cultures in two other major works. Occasional Form: Henry Fielding and the Chains of Circumstance (1975), a wide-ranging study of the works of Fielding, is attracting renewed attention from the perspectives of spatial studies. Before Novels: the Cultural Contexts of EighteenthCentury English Fiction (1990) was one of the first major studies of the literary forms and cultural documents—ephemeral journalism, didactic works, and “wonder” narratives—surrounding and shaping the early novel. It won the Louis Gottschalk Prize in 1991.

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