Theorizing voice and perspective in the narratives of Eliza Haywood and her contemporaries
2010-06-17T14:28:07Z (GMT) by
This thesis traces the career of the prolific eighteenth-century author Eliza Haywood through narratological analysis of some of her key works. It contributes to the new wave of Haywood criticism that is moving away from the thematic, gender based focus that has dominated discussion of her oeuvre since her critical rediscovery in the 1980s. My narratological method demonstrates how understanding at a formal and thematic level is enhanced by the employment of theoretical narrative paradigms. Narratology is interested in the relationship between the events of a narrative (story) and how these events are presented (text). I utilize the narratological terminology of Gérard Genette because it is narrative discourse, rather than the mere events of a story, that provides the basis for a meaningful discussion concerning matters of presentation. Making the topic of narrative discourse central to the study requires analysis of voice, point of view, speech, and temporality, as it covers the ways in which the story is told. Throughout her career, Haywood manipulates these narrative features so as to create inventive texts that adapt to the changing trends of the literary marketplace. Key topics of discussion include Haywood s continuous but developing use both of the embedded narrative and anachronies; the differing levels of intrusion created by her narrators employment of metanarrative commentary; and her progressive use of metalepsis: from her inclusion of simple scene changes in her earlier work, to her emphatic use of explicit diegetic interruptions in her later work that mirror those utilised by Henry Fielding. The thesis follows a chronological structure and is historically and bibliographically informed. This approach enables the thesis to provide extended comparison of Haywood s narrative choices with those of her main forebears and contemporaries, especially Aphra Behn, Delarivier Manley, Samuel Richardson, Tobias Smollett, and Henry Fielding.