The Theo-political origins of the English marriage plot

O'Connell, Lisa (2010) The Theo-political origins of the English marriage plot. Novel: A Forum on Fiction, 43 1: 31-37. doi:10.1215/00295132-2009-059

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Author O'Connell, Lisa
Title The Theo-political origins of the English marriage plot
Journal name Novel: A Forum on Fiction   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0029-5132
1945-8509
Publication date 2010-03-01
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1215/00295132-2009-059
Volume 43
Issue 1
Start page 31
End page 37
Total pages 7
Place of publication Province, R.I.
Publisher Brown University
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted abstract
My paper re-historicizes the eighteenth-century marriage plot by shifting attention away from both the history of literary genres and the modes of social history that have generally informed accounts of the rise of the novel. Drawing instead on recent historiography of the period's religious-political currents, I argue that the novel's marriage plot emerged as both a cultural agent of the Erastian state and an expression of a highly labile, conservative, patriot opposition. It did so, therefore, as an English marriage plot which placed Anglican ritual and relations between vicars and squires at the heart of an imagined English nation. By returning a key tradition of the novel to its theo-political origins, and by offering an account of how marriage itself gained and retained intense topicality across the long eighteenth century in struggles between church and state, I show how the novel's new marriage plot worked to place prose fiction at the center of the literary field and, by that move, radically to augment literature's social resonance.
© 2010 by Novel, Inc.
Keyword Marriage plot
Literary genres
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Communication and Arts Publications
 
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Created: Sun, 16 May 2010, 10:02:41 EST