fiona price is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Chichester. She is the author of Revolutions in Taste, 1773-1818: Women Writers and the Aesthetics of Romanticism (2009) and has also published extensively on eighteenth-century aesthetics, Romantic women's writing, Scottish common-sense philosophy and the historical novel. She is the editor of Jane Porter's The Scottish Chiefs ( 2007) and of Sarah Green's A Private History of the Court of England ( 2010) and is currently working on a monograph on politics in the British historical novel.
Ancient Liberties? Rewriting the Historical Novel: Thomas Leland, Horace Walpole and Clara Reeve
Article first published online: 10 FEB 2011
© 2011 British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Volume 34, Issue 1, pages 19–38, March 2011
How to Cite
PRICE, F. (2011), Ancient Liberties? Rewriting the Historical Novel: Thomas Leland, Horace Walpole and Clara Reeve. Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 34: 19–38. doi: 10.1111/j.1754-0208.2011.00345.x
- Issue published online: 10 FEB 2011
- Article first published online: 10 FEB 2011
- historical novel;
- Whig politics;
- George III
Taking Walter Scott's novels as paradigmatic, Georg Lukács defines the historical novel as a genre that figures history as abrupt change or progress, a theory which, this essay argues, fails to allow for the alternative political fictions available in eighteenth-century Britain. When the impact of the Glorious Revolution on the fictions of Leland, Walpole and Reeve is acknowledged, it becomes evident that the notion of inherited liberties was as important to Whig thinkers as the narrative of historical progress. This realisation allows fuller understanding of how these ‘gothic’ works function as historical novels.