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Title: Ideology and the early Victorian novel : a study of Tory radicalism in the 1830's and 1840's
Author: Youngblood, Michael Davis
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1981
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This thesis examines the social and literary pressures and contexts which shaped the early Victorian topical novel. It surveys the coherent intellectual system of Tory radicalism, as worked out in print and in life from 1826 to 1855. Precipitated in the late 1820's, Tory radicalism possessed two central elements: a thorough critique of political economy and a staunch defense of protectionism. Although pervasive in several key popular movements of the time, Tory radicalism did not enter the novel unaided. The criticism of the novel effected this entry by conceiving of the novel as a participation in reality. The 1830's ended with critics openly admonishing writers to join in contemporary movements in their novels. John Galt responded to thesedemands and to his own ideology in The Member. The protagonist of the novel, Archibald Jobbry, conforms to the Tory radical type of the self-interested M.P. The main action of the novel is Jobbry's normative evolution from self-interest to disinterested performance of duty. Once his evolution is complete, Jobbry serves as a spokesman for Tory radicalism. The factory novels of 1839, Frances Trollope's Michael Armstrong, Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna's Helen Fleetwood, and the anonymous Simon Smike similarly focused on character development. Each of them featured the secular conversion of a character from ignorance to fully committed activism in the cause of Factory Reform. Explicit in these novels is the tension between the novelist's duty honestly to represent human nature and his partisan commitment to an ideology. Benjamin Disraeli developed Sybil around the Tory radical diagnosis of the "Condition of England Question" of the 1840's, only to retreat into the jejeune remedies of Young Englandism. Similarly he undermined the acute Tory radical diagnosis by resorting to the romance narrative pattern. Each of these topical novels incorporated Tory radicalism comprehensively; in addition to the doctrines, they possessed the characters, images, and lived patterns of Tory radicalism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: English Literature