Elizabeth Singer Rowe and the Development of the English Novel
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Title Page, Copyright
List of Illustrations
This book has been a saga punctuated by the years I spent chairing the Research Initiative for the Study of Diversity, the most fulfilling and challenging endeavor of my career. As a final salute to it, I dedicate this book to Nels Madsen, comrade-in-arms and generous spirit. Writing the book was also punctuated by my winning the...
Introduction: Locating Elizabeth Singer Rowe
Few eighteenth-century writers are as familiar and as ubiquitously characterized in a single word as the “pious” Elizabeth Singer Rowe. Although she was an active, even somewhat outspoken, and sociable presence, her life is usually described as Sharon Achinstein did in an ELH essay: “Rowe returned to Frome where she had inherited a small...
1. Positioning Rowe’s Fiction
At age fifty-four after publishing only a few poems for decades, Rowe began to publish fiction rather prolifically. Friendship in Death; or, Letters from the Dead to the Living (1728) came out among such novels as Jane Barker’s The Lining of the Patch-Work Screen (1726), Mary Davys’s The Accomplish’d Rake (1727), Penelope Aubin’s The Life and Adventures of the Lady Lucy (1726) and...
2. Isles of Happiness
In the dedication to Edward Young, Rowe associated Friendship in Death with fairy tales: “The greatest Infidel must own, there is at least as much Probability in this Scheme, as in that of the fairy tales, which however Visionary, are some of them Moral, and Entertaining.”1 Notably, subsequent volumes of her fiction picked up “Moral and...
3. Toward Novelistic Discourse
As Rowe published her successive volumes of prose fiction, England entered the absolute low point of the production of new novels, histories, and romances. The year after Friendship in Death, Haywood’s Fair Hebrew and the anonymous Life and Intrigues of the late celebrated Mrs. Mary Parrimore and The Life of Mr. Robin Lyn were the only fiction...
4. The Beautiful Life
Rowe was one of the first English prose fiction writers to incorporate the politeness movement into her texts. In this chapter, I will expand on this revisionary aspect of her work. She wrote in a letter to the Countess of Hertford, “I have been reading my Lord Shaftesbury’s Moralist, which has fill’d my head with beauties, and love, and harmony...
Conclusion: Lifestyle as Legacy
As important as Rowe’s influence on the English novel is, the legacy of her lifestyle may be equally so. What woman before her led such a well-publicized life that was invariably recognized as modest, domestic, social, contented, and philanthropic?1 Because she was “perhaps the most popular woman writer of the eighteenth century,” 2 interest in her life...
Page Count: 320
Illustrations: 22 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2013
OCLC Number: 834604125
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