Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2018

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

English and American Literature

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



This dissertation proposes a Catholic history of the eighteenth-century English novel. Situating realist fiction as a form deeply imbricated in a metaphysical conflict over the truth of human creations, I draw upon the iconic to describe the ways in which texts such as Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Jane Barker’s patchwork fictions, Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, and Elizabeth Inchbald’s A Simple Story position themselves as fictions and as art. Rather than identifying a specifically Catholic literary form, I argue that Catholicism – both its doctrines and the discourses surrounding it – set the terms through which fiction writers conceptualized their formal innovations in the eighteenth century.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Wolfram Schmidgen

Committee Members

Geremy Carnes, Joseph Loewenstein, William McKelvy, Abram Van Engen,


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