From Nobodaddies to Noble Daddies: Writing Political and Paternal Authority in English Fiction of the 1780s and 1790s

From Nobodaddies to Noble Daddies: Writing Political and Paternal Authority in English Fiction of... Page 1 Frances A. Chiu In Tiriel (1788), the eponymous character threatens his daughter, Hela: “Lead me to Har and Heva . . . or howl desolate in the mountains.” In A Sicilian Romance (1790), the Marquis Mazzini commands his daughter, Julia to “accept the duke, or quit this castle for ever and wander where you will.” By 1790, the wildly tyrannical father was clearly already a new fixation for William Blake and Ann Radcliffe alike. Indeed, in eight short years, after a stream of similar fathers had appeared in the pages of Robert Bage, Eliza Fenwick, Eliza Parsons, Charlotte Smith, and others, this trope had become well entrenched enough for Jane Austen to open Northanger Abbey (1818), her parody of the Gothic novel, with the observation that the heroine’s father, Richard Morland, “was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughter.” 1 How and why did the trope of the paternal despot spread so suddenly in the 1780s and ’90s in Gothic and Jacobin fiction alike, two subgenres that have long been mistakenly consigned to opposite sides of the political spectrum? Why were these fathers so indistinguishable? How did they become even more demonized than http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Eighteenth-Century Life Duke University Press

From Nobodaddies to Noble Daddies: Writing Political and Paternal Authority in English Fiction of the 1780s and 1790s

Eighteenth-Century Life, Volume 26 (2) – Apr 1, 2002

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2002 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0098-2601
eISSN
1086-3192
D.O.I.
10.1215/00982601-26-2-1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Page 1 Frances A. Chiu In Tiriel (1788), the eponymous character threatens his daughter, Hela: “Lead me to Har and Heva . . . or howl desolate in the mountains.” In A Sicilian Romance (1790), the Marquis Mazzini commands his daughter, Julia to “accept the duke, or quit this castle for ever and wander where you will.” By 1790, the wildly tyrannical father was clearly already a new fixation for William Blake and Ann Radcliffe alike. Indeed, in eight short years, after a stream of similar fathers had appeared in the pages of Robert Bage, Eliza Fenwick, Eliza Parsons, Charlotte Smith, and others, this trope had become well entrenched enough for Jane Austen to open Northanger Abbey (1818), her parody of the Gothic novel, with the observation that the heroine’s father, Richard Morland, “was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughter.” 1 How and why did the trope of the paternal despot spread so suddenly in the 1780s and ’90s in Gothic and Jacobin fiction alike, two subgenres that have long been mistakenly consigned to opposite sides of the political spectrum? Why were these fathers so indistinguishable? How did they become even more demonized than

Journal

Eighteenth-Century LifeDuke University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2002

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