Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-684899dbb8-mhx7p Total loading time: 0.544 Render date: 2022-05-22T03:52:51.595Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

Conclusion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 August 2020

Gillian Russell
Affiliation:
University of York
Get access

Summary

In their account of Romantic poetry as a medium, Celeste Langan and Maureen McLane argue that poetry, unlike the novel, ‘had a stronger claim to be considered a supermedial transhistorical venture’. However, the fiction of Austen and Edgeworth suggests that the novel too had aspirations to be a ‘supermedium’ by incorporating and aestheticising the experience of ‘common life’. The society novel in particular achieved this by assimilating the printed ephemera of polite sociability: it remediated the paper filters that facilitated social life in the eighteenth century in order to make the interstices or hyphenations of sociable life, spaces occupied by women in particular, more visible as an appropriate object of fiction. As I suggested previously, the affect of the ephemeral social encounter, the transience of events that flicker to life and disappear, were the common subject of Sarah Sophia Banks and Jane Austen, the former’s assemblages of tickets for balls and assemblies and the latter’s novels textualising the same phenomenon. The evocation in ephemeral print of ‘common life’ as a kind of diurnal historiography was the context in which the novel became central to the affective rhythms and routines of human activity, establishing an idea of the everyday as intimate, familiar, and reassuring rather than as something that was estranging in its absolute anonymity or carelessness, something to ‘fear’ in Blanchot’s terms. The materiality of the codex form of the novel, its solidity and tendency to take the reader’s time while being portable and adaptable to both private and social life, allowed the novel to remediate the specificity of social and affective experience but also to defend both itself and the reader from the abyss of entropic ephemerality. The novel thus capitalises upon an idea of the everyday that it simultaneously resists. Arguably, however, as a literary form most closely linked with the second printing revolution, with which its ‘rise’ coincided, the novel never completely escaped its affiliation with ephemera, as indicated by the enduring association of the novel and novel-reading with trashy, ‘ephemeral productions’, with that which wastes time rather than redeems it.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Ephemeral Eighteenth Century
Print, Sociability, and the Cultures of Collecting
, pp. 251 - 254
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Conclusion
  • Gillian Russell, University of York
  • Book: The Ephemeral Eighteenth Century
  • Online publication: 13 August 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108767347.009
Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Conclusion
  • Gillian Russell, University of York
  • Book: The Ephemeral Eighteenth Century
  • Online publication: 13 August 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108767347.009
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Conclusion
  • Gillian Russell, University of York
  • Book: The Ephemeral Eighteenth Century
  • Online publication: 13 August 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108767347.009
Available formats
×