Literary forms of caricature in the early-nineteenth-century novel

Ferguson, Olivia Mary.   The University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom) ProQuest Dissertations Publishing,  2018. 13875149.

Abstract (summary)

This thesis examines the status of caricature in the literary culture of early-nineteenth- century Britain, with a focus on the novel. It shows how the early-nineteenth- century novel developed a variety of literary forms that negotiated and remade caricature for the bourgeois literary sphere. Case studies are drawn primarily from the published writings and manuscript drafts of Thomas Love Peacock, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, and Walter Scott. The first chapter elucidates the various meanings and uses of 'caricature' in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when the term was more ambiguous and broadly applied than literary criticism and print history have acknowledged. I counter the assumption that the single-sheet satirical print was central to conceptions and practices of caricature in this period, giving examples of the textual, dramatic, and real-life 'caricatures' that were more often under discussion. The second and third chapters consider the unstable distinction between textual caricature and satirical characterisation in early-nineteenth-century literary culture. They explain how the literary construction of textual caricature developed from two sources: Augustan rulings against publishing satires on individuals, and caricature portraits as a pastime beloved of genteel British society. I argue that Peacock and Austen adapted forms of 'caricaturistic writing' that were conscious of the satirical literary work's relation to caricature. Subsequent chapters turn to the thematic uses of caricature in the early-nineteenth- century novel. In the fourth chapter, I uncover the significance of caricature to deformity in Mary Shelley's fiction, presenting evidence that her monsters' disproportion was inherited from the 'real-life' caricatures diagnosed in philosophical and medical texts of the eighteenth century. The final chapter traces ideas about caricature through the writings of Walter Scott, and finds that Scott conceived of exemplary graphic and textual caricatures as artefacts of antiquarian interest.

Indexing (details)

19th century
Identifier / keyword
(UMI)AAI13875149; Social sciences
Literary forms of caricature in the early-nineteenth-century novel
Ferguson, Olivia Mary
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DAI-C 78/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
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Ann Arbor
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United States
The University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom)
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Dissertation or Thesis
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Bibliographic data provided by EThOS, the British Library’s UK thesis service: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.756948
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Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
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