The network novel and how it unsettled domestic fiction

Book Section

This essay considers the novel a network in its own right, one that brought Austen into relation with Brockden Brown, as well as Walpole, Radcliffe, Richardson, Smollett, and Fielding. Austen won the hearts of readers across two centuries, we argue, because her novels injected the risk of romance into village life. This served to break up the household and send its daughters into circulation until they created something like a common culture among otherwise isolated communities. But Austen ultimately won the minds of critics and canonizers because her fiction also provided the means of managing the risk of a world in motion. Reading her households as hubs in a network, we open a line of critical inquiry that also connects her with those Victorian novelists who saw the household as a provincial hub in a giant network that allowed English people to circulate between metropolitan centers and locations across the globe.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Armstrong, N; Tennenhouse, L

Published Date

  • January 1, 2015

Book Title

  • A Companion to the English Novel

Start / End Page

  • 306 - 320

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9781405194457

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/9781118607251.ch20

Citation Source

  • Scopus