The Problematic British Romantic Hero(ine): the Giaour, Mathilda, and Evelina

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Romantic heroes are questers, according to Harold Bloom and Northrop Frye. Whether employing physical strength or relying on the power of the mind, the traditional Romantic hero invokes questing for some sense of self. Chapter 1 considers this hero-type, but is concerned with defining a non-questing British Romantic hero. The Romantic hero's identity is problematic and established through contrasting narrative versions of the hero. This paper's argument lies in the "inconclusiveness" of the Romantic experience perceived in writings throughout the Romantic period. Romantic inconclusiveness can be found not only in the structure and syntax of the works but in the ... continued below

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iv, 191 leaves

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Poston, Craig A. (Craig Alan) May 1995.

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  • Poston, Craig A. (Craig Alan)

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Description

Romantic heroes are questers, according to Harold Bloom and Northrop Frye. Whether employing physical strength or relying on the power of the mind, the traditional Romantic hero invokes questing for some sense of self. Chapter 1 considers this hero-type, but is concerned with defining a non-questing British Romantic hero. The Romantic hero's identity is problematic and established through contrasting narrative versions of the hero. This paper's argument lies in the "inconclusiveness" of the Romantic experience perceived in writings throughout the Romantic period. Romantic inconclusiveness can be found not only in the structure and syntax of the works but in the person with whom the reader is meant to identify or sympathize, the hero(ine). Chapter 2 explores Byron's aesthetics of literature equivocation in The Giaour. This tale is a consciously imbricated text, and Byron's letters show a purposeful complication of the poet's authority concerning the origins of this Turkish Tale. The traditional "Byronic hero," a gloomy, guilt-ridden protagonist, is considered in Chapter 3. Byron's contemporary readers and reviewers were quick to pick up on this aspect of his verse tales, finding in the Giaour, Selim, Conrad, and Lara characteristics of Childe Harold. Yet, Byron's Turkish Tales also reveal a very different and more sentimental hero. Byron seems to play off the reader's expectations of the "Byronic hero" with an ambiguous hero whose character reflects the Romantic aesthetic of indeterminacy. Through the accretive structure of The Giaour, Byron creates a hero of competing component characteristics, a focus he also gives to his heroines. Chapters 4 and 5 address works that are traditionally considered eighteenth-century sentimental novels. Mathilda and Evelina, both epistolary works, present their heroines as worldly innocents who are beset by aggressive males. Yet their subtext suggests that these girls aggressively maneuver the men in their lives. Mathilda and Evelina create a tension between the expected and the radical to energize the reader's imagination.

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iv, 191 leaves

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  • May 1995

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  • March 26, 2014, 9:30 a.m.

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  • Oct. 23, 2014, 9:50 a.m.

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Poston, Craig A. (Craig Alan). The Problematic British Romantic Hero(ine): the Giaour, Mathilda, and Evelina, dissertation, May 1995; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278684/: accessed April 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .