With the premier of the second season of The Crown (2017), Netflix’s extravagant costume drama about Elizabeth II, the show has again occasioned debate among media critics and British historians.
The Restoration Printed Fiction database, now available online, catalogs metadata for the 394 works of fiction published between 1660 and 1700. To generate this list of fiction, entries were drawn from three main bibliographic sources (with some additions): Paul Salzman’s English Prose Fiction 1558-1700, Robert Letellier’s The English Novel, 1660-1700, and Robert Adams Day’s Told in Letters. For the purposes of the database, fiction was defined very broadly; given the novel genre’s emergent status at the time, it makes little sense to apply any kind of strict definition that would not have operated for contemporary readers. If one of the bibliographies (or another scholarly source) treated it as fiction, it was included in the database. This broad approach makes it possible for scholars to cast a wide net when considering the nature of fiction. Also, I’ve only included the first printing in this period of a given text: If a text was first published before 1660, I included the first edition that was published after 1660; for texts first published after 1660, only the first edition is listed. In a later phase of the project, it may be possible to include subsequent editions, which would be helpful in gauging the popularity of texts.
Writing this book was a great pleasure because it allowed me to investigate one of my favorite forms of fiction while employing my scholarly interest in the development of the novel. I realized that I have been reading historical fiction for most of my life. Writers of historical fiction today need not have read a Waverley Novel in order to be influenced by Walter Scott, any more than we need to know who our great-great-grandparents are for our genes to be affected by them. The first section of my book contains two chapters that develop this critical framework. In the second, I devote two chapters to the establishment of authenticity while retaining accessibility, the first on literary intertextuality and the second on the use of images, such as portraits, both historical and fictional. Readers of historical fiction are interested in the “truth” of the narrative, but they generally are concerned about the what and I am interested in the how, which is the function of romance. The third section covers the metamorphosis of the form, with the first chapter discussing three subgenres: the embedded narrative, the historical detective novel, and young adult fiction.
There’s no question that celebrity style has long had an impact on the fashion world—think Beau Brummell, Lillie Langtry, Jean Harlow, Katherine Hepburn. The question is how new is the celebrity-cum-couturier? The life of the British actress Mary Robinson (1757?-1800) would suggest that celebrity clothing and accessory lines are, in fact, nothing new.
The National Gallery of Art, Washington recently opened America Collects Eighteenth-Century French Painting, an exhibition that serves as the first survey of American taste for French 18th-century French painting.
On April 22, a vast cohort of scientists and their allies descended on Washington to take part in the DC March for Science. Researchers and educators, academics and civilians, town and gown, stood together to “express their fealty to reason, data, and, above all, the scientific method,” as a recent New Yorker article put it. Striking back at a Administration that has openly denied scientific consensus on issues such as climate change, even going so far as to purge scientific data from government servers, scientists marched against what seems to many like a sudden and shocking politicization of science. It’s like its 1676 all over again.
“One domestic, at least, that may be spared”: Male Violence and Female Pet Keeping in Eliza Haywood’s Betsy Thoughtless
Haywood’s The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless (1751) follows the emotional maturation–a Bildungsroman with a British lilt–of the titular Betsy Thoughtless. During the novel, between a parade of potential husbands and the interloping of her two brothers, Betsy receives a small pet squirrel from Mr. Trueworth, one of her many suitors. This squirrel, Betsy’s beloved pet, becomes a focalizing object through which Haywood raises and explores the subjects of male aggression, women’s personal rights, and the value placed on animal life.
The 18th-Century Common was developed with substantial support from the Wake Forest University Humanities Institute, which itself was founded with generous support from an National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant. We are grateful that NEH funding has enabled an international array of scholars writing for The 18th-Century Common to share research with nonacademic enthusiasts of eighteenth-century studies.