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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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The Novel of Manners

The Novel of Manners

(p.160) Chapter Six The Novel of Manners
Novel Beginnings

Patricia Meyer Spacks

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses its attention to the details that create and form the novel of manners. During the final decades of the eighteenth century, a new subgenre evolved through the experiments of female writers whose works focused on social detail. The physical appearances of characters faded into the background, and social behavior was given a touch of sharp particularity—manners had become a subject of great interest. The word manners itself implies several definitions. One indicates a person's habits, while another refers more to morality and the moral code. Frances Burney's Evelina marks the first heroine of manners wherein the character of Evelina herself is required to learn an esoteric code of behavior at public and private “assemblies,” or dancing parties. The rest of the chapter then explores the genre of the novel of manners, its development and evolution, as well as its history.

Keywords:   novel of manners, manners, Frances Burney, Evelina, heroine of manners, morality, moral code

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