Bath and the Eighteenth Century Novel

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Bath University Press, 1989 - 76 strani
MOLL FLANDERS, JOSEPH ANDREWS, TOM JONES, REDERICK RANDOM and a host of more novels contain references to the city of bath - a phenomenon that is more than coincidental. Virtually every literary figure of the eighteenth century lived in or visited Bath - JANE AUSTEN, JAMES BOSWELL and SAMUEL JOHNSON, FANNY BURNEY, WILLIAM COWPER, DANIEL DEFOE, HENRY FIELDING, OLIVER GOLDSMITH, ANN RADCLIFFE - the list goes on. The city of Bath became the subject and inspiration for a generation of novelists, because it epitomised the illusions, values and conflicts of the 198th centyry. The genre of the novel - more than any other literary form - grew to maturity in the 18th centutry and Bath played a critical role in this growth, forming an intense focus of social and intellectual activity. Why were all these writers drawn to Bath? Why did the population of Bath triple to 9,000 between 1700 and 1750? Royal patronage of the ancient spa town drew the rest of society along with it to take the waters and sample the accompanying amusements - theatres, dances, concerts and the delight of fashionable and elegant company - all grist to the novelists' mill.

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