The Anti-Jacobin Novel: British Conservatism and the French Revolution

By M. O. Grenby | Go to book overview

THE ANTI-JACOBIN NOVEL

The French Revolution sparked an ideological debate which also brought Britain to the brink of revolution in the 1790s. Just as radicals wrote 'Jacobin' fiction, so the fear of rebellion prompted conservatives to respond with novels of their own, indeed, these soon outnumbered the Jacobin novels. This is the first survey of the full range of conservative novels produced in Britain during the 1790s and early 1800s. M. O. Grenby examines the strategies used by conservatives in their fiction, thus sheddingnew light on how the anti-Jacobin campaign was understood and organised in Britain. Chapters cover the representation of revolution and rebellion, the attack on the 'new philosophy' of radicals such as Godwin and Wollstonecraft and the way in which hierarchy is defended in these novels. Grenby's book offers an insight into the society which produced and consumed anti-Jacobin novels, and presents a case for re-examiningthese neglected texts.

M. O. GRENBY is Hockliffe Research Fellow in the English Department at De Montfort University. He recently held the FulbrightRobertson Professorship of British History at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri. He has written for a number of scholarly journals, and has been a regular contributor to History: the Journal of the Historical Association. This is his first book.

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