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The Novel of Purpose: Literature And Social Reform in the Anglo-American World
by Amanda Claybaugh
Binding: Hardcover, 1 edition, 246 pages
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Weight: 0.75 pound
Dimension: H: 1 x L: 9 x W: 6.2 inches
ISBN 10: 0801444802
ISBN 13: 9780801444807
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Book Description:
In The Novel of Purpose, Amanda Claybaugh demonstrates that Great Britain and the United States shared a single literary marketplace in the Victorian era that linked the reform movements in both nations. Nineteenth century novelists learned new strategies of verisimilitude, as well as new modes of authorial self presentation, from the writings of social reformers. The result was a distinctively Anglo American realism, in which novelists, conceiving of themselves as reformers, sought to act upon their readers and, through their readers, the world. The significance of reform for the nineteenth century novel is most clear, Claybaugh discovers, in the work of novelists who borrow from reformist writings even though they are skeptical of or uninterested in reform itself: Anne Bront , Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Henry James, Elizabeth Stoddard, and Mark Twain.

British and American abolitionists, temperance advocates, and suffrage reformers used print to exchange ideas and strategies. By placing nineteenth century Anglo American novels into this international context, the author shows how a transnational culture of reform influenced not only the content of these works but also their formal features. The Novel of Purpose offers a new way to understand the origins of social reform in both England and America. Claybaugh also argues for a new mode of transatlantic studies, one that focuses on the material networks that determine the ways in which the two nations imagined one another.


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