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The Cure of the Passions and the Origins of the English Novel

The Cure of the Passions and the Origins of the English Novel

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Geoffrey Sill
Cambridge University Press, 15/11/2001
EAN 9780521808057, ISBN10: 0521808057

Paperback, 272 pages, 23.2 x 15.4 x 2 cm

This new study examines the role of the passions in the rise of the English novel. Geoffrey Sill locates the origins of the novel in the breakdown of medical and religious dogmas prior to the eighteenth century, leading to a crisis in the regulation of the passions which the novel helped to address. He examines medical, religious and literary efforts to anatomize the passions, paying particular attention to the works of Dr Alexander Monro of Edinburgh, Reverend John Lewis of Margate and Daniel Defoe, novelist and natural historian of the passions. He shows that the figure of the ‘physician of the mind’ features prominently not only in Defoe’s novels, but also in those of Fielding, Richardson, Smollett, Burney and Edgeworth. The ‘rise’ of the novel comes to an end when the passions give way at the end of the century to the more modern concept of the emotions.

"Provocative and useful..." Eighteenth-Century Fiction

"The author especially excels in combining extraliterary texts and contexts with fiction, from which he draws new and often stunning conclusions." Zeitschrift fuer Anglistik und Amerikanistik