The Decline of Amatory Fiction: Re(de)fining the Female Form
This chapter presents a brief account of the critical fate of the prose fiction of Behn, Manley, and Haywood in the mid- to late 18th century. These early amatory fictions were persistently ‘written out’ of the novel tradition in this period in an attempt to make it respectable. The novel, identified at every stage as a ‘female form’, was, in this period, refined by purging it of its disreputable associations with female sexuality and the subversive power of female ‘wit’, or artifice. Women writers would gain status and more in the newly respectable form of the novel by denying any association with the infamous Behn, Manley, and Haywood.
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