Abstract

Eliza Haywood's Fantomina (1725) and Anti-Pamela (1741) document an increasing social disapprobation for identity play within novels and a return to an understanding of class identity as an innate attribute. Applying Mary Jo Kietzman's theories of serial subjectivity to Haywood's novels brings into view the conflict between two different modes of identity construction in the mid-eighteenth century: identity as a matter of performance, and identity—particularly status—as fixed. Haywood departs from tradition by limiting her serial subjects, indicating an emerging social censure of this figure. The upward social mobility attempted by these protean characters appears to be their most objectionable quality, and as such these figures rehearse and respond to the problems at the centre of the Pamela controversy (1740). Haywood's texts and their engagement in this debate allow us to better conceptualize the intersections between identity and status, and narration and plot, that were central to the development of the early novel.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1911-0243
Print ISSN
0840-6286
Pages
pp. 25-44
Launched on MUSE
2017-09-30
Open Access
N

Copyright

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