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summary
Conventional studies of the 18th-century novel link the form’s evolution to the emergence of a modern liberal subject whose actions and attachments are imagined to be voluntary and intentional. Sandra Macpherson challenges this account of modernity, arguing that accident and injury are central to the way the early realist novel conceives of personhood and belonging. Macpherson’s unique approach connects the rise of the novel to contemporary developments in liability law—in particular, to legal principles of strict liability that hold persons accountable for harms inflicted upon others in the absence of intention, consent, direct action, or foreknowledge. In fresh readings of Defoe, Richardson, and Fielding, she shows that these laws share with the novel the view that the state of a person’s mind is irrelevant to the question of her responsibility for her actions. Macpherson urges readers to rethink the ancient consensus that the novel differs from tragedy in its elevation of character over plot. She concludes that the realist novel is ultimately a tragic form, committed to holding persons accountable for accidents of fate. Macpherson's original insights will have a broad and lasting impact on the study of the 18th-century novel.

Table of Contents

  1. Contents
  2. p. ix
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xiii
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  1. INTRODUCTION: Injuring Love
  2. pp. 1-24
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  1. CHAPTER ONE: Matrimonial Murder
  2. pp. 25-58
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  1. CHAPTER TWO: The Encroachments of Others
  2. pp. 59-97
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  1. CHAPTER THREE: Fighting Men
  2. pp. 98-132
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  1. CHAPTER FOUR: The Rape of the Cock
  2. pp. 133-174
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  1. CONCLUSION: Bad Form
  2. pp. 175-194
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 195-230
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 231-237
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780801895951
Related ISBN
9780801893841
MARC Record
OCLC
593240457
Pages
256
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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