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Title: Quixotic exceptionalism : British and US co-narratives, 1713-1823
Author: Hanlon, Aaron Raymond
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Scholars have long since identified a quixotic mode in fiction, acknowledging the widespread influence of Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote (1605-15) on subsequent texts. In most cases, “quixotic” signifies a preponderance of allusions to Don Quixote in a given text, such that most studies of “quixotic fictions” or “quixotic influence” are primarily taxonomic in purpose and in outcome: they name and catalogue a text or group of texts as “quixotic,” then argue that, by virtue of the vast and protean influence of Don Quixote, the quixotic mode in fiction is always divided, lacking any semblance of ideological consistency. I argue, however, that the very characteristics of Don Quixote that make him such an attractive literary model for such a broad range of narratives—his bookish idealism, his fixation on the upper-classed grandiosity of the lives of noble knights—also form the consistent, ideological groundwork of quixotism: the exceptionalist substitution of fictive idealism for material reality. By tracing the ways in which quixotes become mouthpieces for various exceptionalist arguments in eighteenth-century British and American texts, like Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrews (1742), Tobias Smollett's Launcelot Greaves (1760), Charlotte Lennox's The Female Quixote (1752), Hugh Henry Brackenridge's Modern Chivalry (1792-1815), and Royall Tyler's The Algerine Captive (1797), among others, I demonstrate the link between quixotism and exceptionalism, or between fictive idealism and the belief that one (or one's worldview) is an exception to the scrutiny of the surrounding world.
Supervisor: Gerrard, Christine; Ballaster, Ros Sponsor: University of Oxford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: English Language and Literature ; quixote ; quixotic ; exceptionalism ; eighteenth century ; novel ; transatlantic ; Cervantes ; Don Quixote