The novel of purpose and the power of the page: breaking the chains that bind in fettered for life

Stevenson, Ana (2013) The novel of purpose and the power of the page: breaking the chains that bind in fettered for life. Crossroads, 6 2: 104-114.

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Author Stevenson, Ana
Title The novel of purpose and the power of the page: breaking the chains that bind in fettered for life
Journal name Crossroads
ISSN 1839-8774
Publication date 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status
Volume 6
Issue 2
Start page 104
End page 114
Total pages 11
Place of publication St Lucia, QLD, Australia
Publisher Queensland Association of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics Publishing
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Abstract The intellectuals and reformers of the nineteenth century were well aware of ‘the power of the page,’ understanding the innate ability of fiction to change the way people think and thus its power to help bring about social reform. The novel of purpose – a novel that engaged with socially relevant issues within its narrative framework – was particularly influential in the United States in the late eighteenth century and throughout the nineteenth century. I will examine the ‘power of the page’ through an investigation of the novel of purpose, which was a flourishing, popular and lucrative literary category. This article will explore Fettered for Life; or, Lord and Master (1874), by Lillie Devereux Blake, a novel of purpose that has been largely neglected in contemporary scholarship. Often writing pseudonymously, Blake was a prolific writer of fiction and polemics and a Civil War correspondent who later became a prominent figure in the women’s rights movement. Fettered for Life was written to promote the ideologies of the nineteenth century women’s rights movement. This text, therefore, provides a literary window into the changing social, cultural and political forces that influenced the course of the women’s rights movement and its call for women’s suffrage. A focus on the pervasive use of the woman-slave analogy, as a rhetorical device and literary trope, will illuminate how Blake aimed to challenge existing power structures throughout this text and, thus, within the broader historical context. As a result, Fettered for Life proves a prime example of the effectiveness of the novel of purpose in terms of the ‘power of the page.’
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Special Issue - 2011 Perspectives on Power Conference. Selected papers from "Perspectives on Power: An Interdisciplinary Conference for Postgraduates and Early Career Researchers" held at The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia from 23-25 November 2011. This article is a longer version of the paper presented at the conference.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
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Created: Wed, 21 Aug 2013, 14:09:25 EST by Ms Dulcie Stewart on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service