Historical Boundaries, Narrative Forms: Essays on British Literature in the Long Eighteenth Century in Honor of Everett Zimmerman

Historical Boundaries, Narrative Forms: Essays on British Literature in the Long Eighteenth Century in Honor of Everett Zimmerman

Historical Boundaries, Narrative Forms: Essays on British Literature in the Long Eighteenth Century in Honor of Everett Zimmerman

Historical Boundaries, Narrative Forms: Essays on British Literature in the Long Eighteenth Century in Honor of Everett Zimmerman

Synopsis

This collection of twelve essays by colleagues, students, and friends of Everett Zimmerman treats four topics that Zimmerman explored during his career: the representation of the self in narratives, the early British novel and related forms, their epistemological and generic borders, and their intellectual and cultural contexts. The collection is divided into two sections: Boundaries and Forms. The essays in Boundaries explore how epistemological and narrative distinctions between history and fiction meet or overlap in the novel's relationship to other forms, including providential history, travel narratives, uptopias, autobiography, and visual art. In Forms, the contributors investigate fictional, historical, and material forms; the impact those cultural phenomena had on the meaning and value attributed to literary works; and how such forms arose in response to historical conditions. The essays describe the historical range of Zimmerman's work, beginning with Defoe and ending with Coetzee, and treat such key writers of the long eighteenth century as Fielding, Richardson, Walpole, Austen, and Scott. Bakersfield. Robert Mayer is Professor of English and Director of the Screen Studies Program at Oklahoma State University.

Excerpt

This collection of essays by colleagues, students, and friends of Everett Zimmerman is offered as a tribute to his life and career. in his work on British literature and culture in the long eighteenth century (roughly, the mid-seventeenth through the early nineteenth century), Everett made significant contributions to four interconnected topics: the representation of an authoritative self in narratives, the early British novel and related narrative forms, their epistemological and generic borders, and their intellectual and cultural contexts. He approached these topics with an eclectic but carefully considered methodology, grounded in close attention to the relationships between texts and contexts and insightful readings of critical theory. This collection attests to the fact that Everett’s investigations of historical boundaries and narrative forms—and of the eighteenth century in general—continue to be of use as we take up the subjects that interested him.

Everett’s first book, Defoe and the Novel (1975), was a major contribution to the discussion in Anglo-American scholarship during the 1960s and 1970s of the early British novel and its literary, intellectual, and religious traditions. He examined the ways in which Daniel Defoe’s narratives raise questions about the self and identity through the use of autobiographical or satirical form, and he explored how fact and fiction were blurred or merged in those works. By precisely delineating the forms Defoe employed and the contexts within which he worked, Everett reevaluated Defoe’s considerable achievements in the emergent literary form of the novel.

Swift’s Narrative Satires: Author and Authority (1983), Everett’s second book, showed how Jonathan Swift’s complex narrators make it impossible for readers to assume the existence of an authoritative author behind the satire. Instead, Everett argued, the reader of Swift must continually search for principles upon which the narrator’s authority is based. This aspect of Swift’s narratives, Everett asserted, was influenced by the political upheavals of the seventeenth and eigh-

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