Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Virtunomics: Class, virtue, and moral authority in Pamela, Henrietta, and Evelina
by James, Jessica, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2011, 108; 1499262
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis examines the roles of moral philosophy and economic development in three eighteenth-century novels. In Samuel Richardson's Pamela , the middling class is shown to possess moral authority that extends beyond their fortune and is bolstered by their inferior status. Charlotte Lennox presents the reader with a more complicated view of class and virtue in Henrietta, wherein upward mobility is represented as a function of financial success rather than a product of virtue or hard work, leaving questions of moral authority to the individual. Finally, Frances Burney's novel, Evelina, offers a representation of the conflicts and interactions between the aristocracy and the middling class that emphasizes manners and propriety over virtue. All three novels offer complex representation of the middling class while they create ethical and economic arguments. These novels are not only literary efforts; they are critical and philosophical exercises that call attention to moral philosophy.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Carlile, Susan
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 50/01M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: British and Irish literature
Publication Number: 1499262
ISBN: 978-1-124-85748-0
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