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Title: Novel Errantry: An Annotated Edition of Horatio, of Holstein (1800)
Authors: Hostetter, Lyra Jean
Advisors: Wolfson, Susan
Schor, Esther
Contributors: English Department
Keywords: 1800
Subjects: Literature
British and Irish literature
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Abstract "Novel Errantry: An Annotated Edition of Horatio, of Holstein (1800)" transcribes, augments, and re-introduces this exuberant, avant-garde anonymous English novel. Supplements to this edition include a critical Introduction, a Note on Germany considering historical referents, a Plot Summary of the novel's baffling narrative entanglements and ruptures, copious illustrations, and a Coda on prospects for a digital edition of Horatio and The Baronet (1800), another anonymous novel possibly by the same author. "Restless errantry" is Horatio's narratology, in gleeful defiance of emerging literary protocol. Hordes of characters wander aimlessly in plots alternately labyrinthine and disjointed. There is no touchstone for expectation as generic conventions shift dizzyingly. And the expectation of a secure moral payoff is a fool's errand. This is not just the effect of the way Horatio mingles elements of 1790s gothic and sensational novels--and their feminist and Revolutionary energies--with earlier traditions of sentimentalism and comic metafiction, nor of its alignment with the heterodox Tristram Shandy, a fiction fluid, incredible, and always in vital collaboration with the reader. Moral intent is inimical to the very energy of Horatio. Its metafictional acrobatics draw the reader into a "whirligig movement" of digression and recursion that transcends norms of virtue and probability, anthologizing conventions into a sprawling comedy of narrative errors. This is deliberate experimentation, by a narrator whose cheerfully "errant" presence is felt every moment (in several personae). Swinging a metafictional "dark-lantern" in sweeping vicissitudes of radiance and obscurity, telling and withholding, punning and interrupting, the narrator challenges readers to enjoy awkwardness and artifice. Horatio constitutes a canon of eighteenth-century novels, in the clamoring tones of its commercialized, war-torn modernity. It is meta-canonical, fashioning multiplicities of character, plot, narrative authority, polysemy, genre, even gender. The fascination of Princeton's unique copy of Horatio is its copia of marginalia by an unidentified contemporary reader, so attentive as to seem a reviewer or publisher's adviser. They range from checks and underscorings to entire sentences, drawn to diction, conspicuously conventional narrative moves, and plot-inconsistencies, alert to self-conscious generic juxtapositions and hyper-figurative language--in effect, just the response the narrator imagines in metafictional conversation.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:English

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