Fanciful Fictions: The Fashioning of Authorship in Two Elizabethan Novels
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis sets out to examine the manifestations of authorial self-awareness in the Elizabethan novel. Recent academic interest in early modern fictional prose has prompted questions about the ‘birth of the author’. Elizabeth Eisenstein and Walter Ong have demonstrated how the rise of the printing press advanced the development from oral to literate culture in early modern Europe, and Maurice Couturier provided a print-based analysis of the rise of the novel. The coexistence of the two forms of communication, as well as changing practices in storytelling, reading and writing are reflected in fictional prose texts like William Baldwin’s Beware the Cat (1553) and Thomas Nashe’s The Unfortunate Traveller (1594). These texts reveal how the strategies used, both in terms of narrative techniques and the use of conventions of the book, can be seen as explorations of the relationship between author and reader. Examining these signs of self-fashioning opens the way for a methodology to appreciate the early modern novel in its medial and literary context, as the status of the author, the religious dimensions of print culture and its remediating potential help bring into focus the distinctive qualities of Elizabethan prose fiction.