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Grant number: FT-13939-78

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Michael McKeon
Boston University (Boston, MA 02215-1300)

The Origins of the English Novel, 1580-1740

To investigate the development of the novel viewed as an episode in the history not only of literary genres, but also of epistemology, social thought, and social organization. The novel focuses its attention on discord that is peculiarly a function of social change—the divergence of "internal nobility" from aristocratic nobility, of virtue from status, of status from wealth and power—and it relies on the social mechanism itself to rectify this discord through the processes of upward and downward mobility. The rise of the novel becomes considerably more intelligible when seen, with the aid of social psychology, as a complex expression of relative deprivation and status inconsistency.

Project fields:
British Literature

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$2,500 (approved)
$2,500 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/1978 – 8/31/1978