Abstract

Abstract:

Juliet Granville, the protagonist of Frances Burney's novel The Wanderer (1814), enters the novel fleeing the French Revolution and disguised in blackface. This article argues that Juliet's act of racial counterfeiting implicitly gestures toward the Haitian Revolution without naming that historical touchstone and emblematizes a theory of trace histories that Burney articulates in the novel's dedication. There, she sketches an agonistic vision of history through what she calls "traces," where events "though already historical, have left traces" that have been "handed down . . . from generation to generation" and tarry in the present. Burney frames the trace as an afterlife of an event that cannot be quite integrated into the broader scope of "history" as such but which leaves behind profound formal remainders. Burney's dedication thus theorizes how to read Romantic-era novels for those fragments of form, and Juliet's disguise replots erasures of Caribbean history as a problem of reading.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2573-3575
Print ISSN
0013-8282
Pages
pp. 58-70
Launched on MUSE
2019-10-23
Open Access
No
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