Novel of circulation

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Illustration to Pompey the Little, by John June

The novel of circulation, otherwise known as the it-narrative, or object narrative,[1] is a genre of novel common at one time in British literature, and follows the fortunes of an object, for example a coin, that is passed around between different owners. Sometimes, instead, it involves a pet or other domestic animal, as for example in Francis Coventry's The History of Pompey the Little (1751).[2] This and other such works blended satire with the interest for contemporary readers of a roman à clef.[3] They also use objects such as hackney-carriages and bank-notes to interrogate what it meant to live in an increasingly mobile society, and to consider the effect of circulation on human relations.[4]

Examples[edit]

  • 1709 Charles Gildon, The Golden Spy has been regarded by modern scholars as "the first, fully-fledged it-narrative in English".[5] But for his contemporaries, it tends to be read as "a Menippean satire, a re-adaptation of Apuleius's The Golden Ass and a sequel to The New Metamorphosis [i.e. Gildon's adaptation of The Golden Ass in 1708]".[6] Later, an episodic structure in which objects "spied" on people became established.[7] Other generic terms used are "object tales" or "spy novels".[8]
  • 1734 Anonymous, The Secret History of an Old Shoe[9]
  • 1742 Claude Crébillon, The Sopha, a Moral Tale[10]
  • 1753 Susan Smythies, The Stage-coach: containing the character of Mr. Manly, and the history of his fellow-travellers[10]
  • 1754 Anonymous, History and Adventures of a Lady's Slippers and Shoes[11]
  • 1760 Edward Phillips, The Adventures of a Black Coat[12]
  • 1760–5 Charles Johnstone, Chrysal; or, The Adventures of a Golden Guinea[2]
  • 1767 Charles Perronet, Dialogue between the Pulpit and Reading-Desk[10]
  • 1769 Tobias Smollett, The History and Adventures of an Atom[10]
  • 1771 Thomas Bridges, The Adventures of a Bank-Note[13]
  • 1783 Theophilus Johnson, Phantoms: or, The Adventures of a Gold-Headed Cane[14]
  • 1790 Helenus Scott, The Adventures of a Rupee[15]
  • 1799 Edward Augustus Kendall, The Crested Wren[10]
  • 1813 Mary Pilkington, The Sorrows of Caesar, or, The Adventures of a Foundling Dog[10]
  • 1816 Mary Mister, The Adventures of a Doll[10]
  • 1880 Nellie Hellis, The Story He was told; or, The Adventures of a Teacup[16]
  • 1897, John William Fortescue, The Story of a Red Deer[17]

Relationship to other genres[edit]

With works of Mary Ann Kilner of the 1780s, Adventures of a Pincushion and Memoirs of a Peg-Top, it-novels became part of children's literature.[18] One offshoot was a style of satirical children's verse made popular by Catherine Ann Dorset, based on a poem by William Roscoe, The Butterfly's Ball and The Grasshopper's Feast.[19] Quite generally, it-narrative in the 19th century is typefied by an animal narrator.[20]

It has been remarked that the slave narrative genre of the 18th century avoided being confused with the it-narrative, being thought of as a type of biography.[21]

The plot of Middlemarch has been seen to be structured, initially, by a circulation; but to end in a contrasting "subject narrative".[22]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Wolfram Schmidgen (2002). Eighteenth-Century Fiction and the Law of Property. Cambridge University Press. p. 127. ISBN 978-1-139-43482-9.
  2. ^ a b John Mullan (12 October 2006). How Novels Work. Oxford University Press. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-19-162292-2.
  3. ^ Liz Bellamy (26 September 2005). Commerce, Morality and the Eighteenth-Century Novel. Cambridge University Press. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-521-02037-4.
  4. ^ Ewers, Chris (2018). Mobility in the English Novel from Defoe to Austen. Boydell and Brewer. p. 101-102.
  5. ^ Jonathan Lamb (2001), ‘Modern Metamorphoses and Disgraceful Tales’, Critical Inquiry 28:1 (2001), p.133-66, reprinted in Bill Brown (ed.), Things (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2004), pp.193-226 (p.213).
  6. ^ Jingyue Wu (2017), ‘ “Nobilitas sola est atq; unica Virtus”: Spying and the Politics of Virtue in The Golden Spy; or, A Political Journal of the British Nights Entertainments (1709)’, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 40:2 (2017), p.237-253 doi: 10.1111/1754-0208.12412
  7. ^ Olivia Murphy (22 February 2013). Jane Austen the Reader: The Artist as Critic. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 79. ISBN 978-1-137-29241-4.
  8. ^ Mark Blackwell (2007). The Secret Life of Things: Animals, Objects, and It-narratives in Eighteenth-century England. Bucknell University Press. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-8387-5666-9.
  9. ^ Jolene Zigarovich (2 May 2013). Sex and Death in Eighteenth-Century Literature. Routledge. p. 58. ISBN 978-1-136-18237-2.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Mark Blackwell (2007). The Secret Life of Things: Animals, Objects, and It-narratives in Eighteenth-century England. Bucknell University Press. pp. 135–8. ISBN 978-0-8387-5666-9.
  11. ^ Wolfram Schmidgen (2002). Eighteenth-Century Fiction and the Law of Property. Cambridge University Press. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-139-43482-9.
  12. ^ Christina Lupton (29 November 2011). Knowing Books: The Consciousness of Mediation in Eighteenth-Century Britain. University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 49–. ISBN 0-8122-0521-9.
  13. ^ Nicholas Hudson (2005) [1] "Social Rank, "The Rise of the Novel," and Whig Histories of Eighteenth-Century Fiction, Eighteenth-Century Fiction: Vol. 17: Iss. 4 (2005), at p. 587]
  14. ^ David Scott Kastan (2006). The Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature. Oxford University Press. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-19-516921-8.
  15. ^ Liz Bellamy (26 September 2005). Commerce, Morality and the Eighteenth-Century Novel. Cambridge University Press. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-521-02037-4.
  16. ^ Mark Blackwell (2007). The Secret Life of Things: Animals, Objects, and It-narratives in Eighteenth-century England. Bucknell University Press. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-8387-5666-9.
  17. ^ Mark Blackwell (2007). The Secret Life of Things: Animals, Objects, and It-narratives in Eighteenth-century England. Bucknell University Press. p. 144. ISBN 978-0-8387-5666-9.
  18. ^ Mark Blackwell (2007). The Secret Life of Things: Animals, Objects, and It-narratives in Eighteenth-century England. Bucknell University Press. p. 280. ISBN 978-0-8387-5666-9.
  19. ^ Frederick Burwick; Nancy Moore Goslee; Diane Long Hoeveler (30 January 2012). The Encyclopedia of Romantic Literature. John Wiley & Sons. p. 237. ISBN 978-1-4051-8810-4.
  20. ^ Laura Brown (2010). Homeless Dogs & Melancholy Apes: Humans and Other Animals in the Modern Literary Imagination. Cornell University Press. p. 123. ISBN 0-8014-4828-X.
  21. ^ John Ernest (2014). The Oxford Handbook of the African American Slave Narrative. Oxford University Press. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-19-973148-0.
  22. ^ Leah Price (9 April 2012). How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain. Princeton University Press. p. 108. ISBN 1-4008-4218-2.