Politique et poétique du roman radical en Angleterre (1782-1805)

Abstract : This dissertation examines a corpus of English novels which have been little studied in France as yet and never as a whole. The novels were published between 1782 and 1805 by a group of writers who, by their ideas and in some cases active political commitment, belong to the radical movement which developed in England in the second half of the eighteenth century, gained impetus and structure in the wake of the French Revolution, and collapsed at the end of the decade when faced with repression from the government of William Pitt. Radical novelists, many of whom, like William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft and John Thelwall, were philosophers and pamphleteers before they took to novel-writing, flew to the defence of the rights of man (and of the rights of woman) in the revolution controversy which pitted Thomas Paine against Edmund Burke – and their work bears the mark of the rise and demise of the radical movement. Combining intellectual history with classical narratology, book history, and the social and cultural history of radicalism, this dissertation seeks to highlight the way in which political ideology is built into the very forms of the novels – in the characters’ speech and the characters themselves, in the novels’ plot and narration type, in their style and publishing format, as well as in their meaningful silences. Such a study brings to light, rather than a coherent radical ideology, a recurring tension between two versions of radicalism, liberal and jacobin, bourgeois and plebeian, whose partly conflicting conjunction assumes different shapes from one novelist to the other and between the early 1780s and late 1790s, as radical hopes of reform sink under the conservative backlash.
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Marion Leclair. Politique et poétique du roman radical en Angleterre (1782-1805). Littératures. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018USPCA080⟩. ⟨tel-02147505⟩

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