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Novel BeginningsExperiments in Eighteenth-Century English Fiction$
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Patricia Spacks

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780300110319

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300110319.001.0001

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Novels of Consciousness

Novels of Consciousness

(p.92) Chapter Four Novels of Consciousness
Novel Beginnings

Patricia Meyer Spacks

Yale University Press

This chapter explores the form and function of novels of consciousness. Where novels like Tom Jones and Peregrine Pickle focused on the events that happen in the world, other authors instead focused more intensely on the internal event. Novelists sought the use of letter writing, for example, as a device through which to convey the conscious thoughts of a character. Thus many of the century's fictions took epistolary form—the epistolary novel. Samuel Richardson's Pamela, for example, is a novel that assembles the personal letters written by a single person. The works Familiar Letters and the History of Lady Julia Mandeville present both sides of the correspondence, whereas works such as Humphry Clinker present letters from several different correspondences. The epistolary novel, however, is merely a subcategory of the novel of consciousness. The rest of the chapter is devoted to mapping out the differences that set novels of consciousness apart from novels of development.

Keywords:   novels of consciousness, internal event, letter writing, Familiar Letters, Pamela, Humphry Clinker, Lady Julia Mandeville, epistolary novel

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