A study of writings that seek a specific effect in their reader—whether didactic instruction and moral formation, or an instigation to take action towards political change–and their uneasy alliance in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries with the literary genre of prose fiction. How do writings that seek to inform or reform the real person or the real world put fictional narratives to use? How is the genre of the novel shaped, explicitly or implicitly, by writing to a specific “end”? Texts will include novels, tales for children, life-writing, poetry with a “cause,” polemical essays; possible authors include Olaudah Equiano, Edmund Burke, William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, Hannah More, Maria Edgeworth, Jane Austen, Anna Barbauld, and Mary Shelley.
Also WGSS 769.