Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page, Quote

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

For their patient reading of different versions of the manuscript and most valuable suggestions, I am deeply grateful to the late Everett Zimmerman, to Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook, Robert A. Erickson, Anita Guerrini, Christopher Hair, Robert Markley, Judith Prats, Judith Schiffbauer, Kristina Straub, and William B. Warner. ...

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Introduction: Cultural Narratives of Illegitimacy

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pp. 1-22

Demographers and historians refer to the eighteenth century as the “century of illegitimacy,”1 pointing out that “in every city in England and the continent for which data are available, the upsurge of illegitimacy commenced around 1750 or before.”2 ...

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Chapter 1. Bastard Daughters and Foundling Heroines: Rewriting Illegitimacy in The Conscious Lovers

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pp. 23-39

Richard Steele’s play The Conscious Lovers (1722) occupies a special place in eighteenth-century literary history. It is considered a paradigmatic “sentimental comedy . . . associated with the early-eighteenth-century reform movement”1 and testifying to the theatre’s prescient recognition of the rising ...

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Chapter 2. Moll Flanders and the English "Shelter for Bastards"

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pp. 40-63

Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders appeared in 1722, the same year as Richard Steele’s The Conscious Lovers, but here the similarities would seem to end. Neither the eighteenth-century reading and theater-going public nor twentieth-century literary critics have ever thought of seeking parallels between Defoe’s “debauched from her youth”1 ...

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Chapter 3. Kicking Out the Cubs: The Wrong Heirs in Richardson's Clarissa

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pp. 64-85

The plot of Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa is propelled into action by a last testament “not strictly conformable to law, or the forms thereof.”1 As a woman and the youngest child in the family, Clarissa Harlowe is not supposed to inherit her grandfather’s estate over the heads of her father, her uncles, her brother, and her older sister. ...

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Chapter 4. Tom Jones: Resisting the Mythologization of Bastardy

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pp. 86-100

Looking for bastards in Tom Jones is a highly gratifying endeavor. One finds them at every turn of the plot and, at the end of one productive search, puts the novel away with a pleasant anticipation of discovering more of those stinking “misbegotten Wretches”1 upon the next rereading—an impression perhaps intended by the author. ...

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Chapter 5. Female Philanthrophy, the London Foundling Hosptial, and Richardson's The History of Sir Charles Grandison

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pp. 101-126

In April 24, 1750, William Hogarth put his painting The March to Finchley (see figure 2) up for auction, the proceeds from which were to go to the London Foundling Hospital. What happened next, according to the Gentleman’s Magazine, was that a “certain lady” discovered herself “the possessor of the fortunate number” ...

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Chapter 6. The Children "Owned by None": Divided Bastardy in Frances Burney's Evelina

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pp. 127-151

Illegitimacy, infanticide, and, after 1739, the London Foundling Hospital were indelible features of the mental landscape of the eighteenth-century writer. The published fictional impressions of that landscape assumed many forms, both covert and overt, ranging from Richard Steele’s reworking of Terence’s plot of fornication and exposure ...

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Chapter 7. Harriet Smith in Brunswick Square: "Common Sense" Bastardy in Austen's Emma

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pp. 152-168

As she walks hurriedly to Randalls, summoned there by some bad news that only her best friend, Mrs. Weston, would know how to break to her, Emma Woodhouse tries to guess what might be the matter. Her “friends . . . in Brunswick Square” (361) appear to be fine—the suddenly uncommunicative Mr. Weston at least assured her of that; ...

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Postscript: BBC Rewrites Tom Jones's Illegitimacy

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pp. 169-172

Although the tradition of the obligatory transformation of female bastards into foundlings may have ebbed by the 1810s, representations informed by that tradition still resonate with us today in unexpected and subtle ways. Consider the flashback at the end of the BBC 1998 production of Tom Jones, which shows Tom’s late parents, Miss Bridget Allworthy and Mr. Summer, smiling at each other and very much in love. ...

Notes

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pp. 173-199

Bibliography

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pp. 200-218

Index

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pp. 219-228