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The Historical Novel and the Nation State, 1814-1900

  • Author / Creator
    Buchanan, David J.
  • This is a work of literary history on the historical novel in nineteenth-century Britain, France, America, and Canada, combining history and criticism, using materials from politics, bibliography, and literature. Following upon earlier romance, gothic, national, and historical novels, Walter Scott’s combination of history and romance in Waverley, or ‘Tis Sixty Years Since (1814) offered a unique, effective, and influential means of describing and directing the social transformation and modernization of nation states. Honoré de Balzac, James Fenimore Cooper, and Philippe-Joseph Aubert de Gaspé built upon the success of Scott’s Waverley novels (1814-31) by adapting formal and thematic resources to local circumstances, making the historical novel transnational in scope and national in application. Case studies of Scott’s Heart of Mid-Lothian (1818); Balzac’s Père Goriot (1835); Cooper’s Pathfinder, or the Inland Sea (1840); and Aubert de Gaspé’s Anciens Canadiens (1863) situate, describe, and trace the impact of such works: first, literary and print history situates initial production; second, narrative analysis describes the representation of modern identity and group formation; third, downmarket dissemination and cultural adaptation within and between nation states throughout the nineteenth century traces the extended impact on publishing, reading, and culture. Consideration of the historical novel as a historical, political, and popular form used to respond and contribute to conditions of modernity provides the information and analysis necessary for revaluation of the role and significance of such works in the development of the modern nation state.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2012-04
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3R49GQ8J
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Doctoral
  • Department
    • Comparative Literature
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Kelly, Gary (English & Film Studies, Comparative Literature)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Sywenky, Irene (Comparative Literature, Modern Languages & Cultural Studies)
    • Braz, Albert (Comparative Literature, English & Film Studies)
    • Devereux, Cecily (English & Film Studies)
    • Mulvihill, James (English & Film Studies)
    • Findlay, L. M. (English)