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|Title:||The Country Parson in the Eighteenth-Century Novel|
|Authors:||Lovesey, Oliver Mark Bazentin|
|Keywords:||English Language and Literature;English Language and Literature|
|Abstract:||<p>The occasion for this study was an awareness of a need for an isolated examination of the country parson figure in the English novel. Owing to the limits of time and space regulating this research, its scope has been limited to the seminal period of the novel in the eighteenth century, and even further limited to three novels whose publication spans the century. These novels are Joseph Andrews, The Vicar of Wakefield, and Pride and Prejudice. An attempt has been made to investigate the parsons in the other writings of these novelists. The country parson has always been a central character in English society; successors to the "types" of country parson in the eighteenth-century novels can be found in Victorian novels such as Samuel Butler's The Way of all Flesh, and twentieth-century fiction.</p> <p>This study examines the nature of the relationship between the parson as portrayed in the eighteenth-century novel, the parson as portrayed in previous literature and the parson as a real figure in eighteenth-century society. The broad scope of this work has necessitated the use of a wide variety of historical, ecclesiastical and literary sources. It has been necessary to inquire into church history and social history of the eighteenth century, and also into the different theological factions of that age. The backgrounds of the country parson in English literature has been briefly summarized by looking at works of major importance. An attempt has been made to examine certain novels and novelists contemporary with and also succeeding the writers this work principally studies. Finally, this study utilizes the research of theorists who have written about the novel form, or about the relationship between history and literature.</p> <p>The movement of this study proceeds chronologically from the beginning to the end of the eighteenth century, tracing the evolution of the country parson in the novel and society. Joseph Andrews was published in 1743 and represents the concern with Latitudinarian Christianity of that time and Fielding's specific devotion to social and church reform. The Vicar of Wakefield (1766) represents the sentimental interest in rural retirement of mid-century, and Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice (1813) is the secular country parson, who entered the church at the end of the century, when the value of church livings had risen. This study attempts to show that as a character, the country parson has unique qualities which are shared by no other "type" of character, and which render him especially valuable; as it were, a lighthouse from which can be more clearly viewed the very fabric of individual and social life rendered in the novel.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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