Historical fiction in the Romantic Period: Jane Porter, Walter Scott and the Sublime Hero

Price, F. (2022) Historical fiction in the Romantic Period: Jane Porter, Walter Scott and the Sublime Hero. In: Studying English literature in context: critical readings. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 220-235. ISBN 9781108782999

Full text not available from this repository.


Until recently, it was often assumed that Walter Scott was the first historical novelist. Moreover, it was accepted that, in writing a new form of fiction, Scott had chosen to make his heroes, caught up in large-scale historical events, relatively ineffectual. Yet when the work of the historical novelists (often women) who worked before and alongside Scott is taken into account, it becomes apparent that Scott’s decision regarding his heroes is a manoeuvre within a wider debate regarding the nature of heroism. Placing Scott’s heroes within a wider context, this essay examines how the Romantic historical novel first moderates, then reduces and reinvents the sublime figure of the heroic leader. My reading examines how, in The Scottish Chiefs (1810), Jane Porter invented a new model of sublime Christian heroism that could be extended beyond the upper ranks. It interrogates how Scott responded to Porter by minimising the potentially subversive elements of this paradigm, and it reveals how Jane Porter, in The Pastor’s Fireside (1817), proposed a form of heroic re-education. For these historical novelists, the difficulty, ultimately, was to imagine a variety of patriotic heroism that would safely function in commercial, peacetime Britain.

Publication Type: Book Sections
Uncontrolled Keywords: novel, heroic leader, The Scottish Chiefs, The Pastor's Fireside, patriotic heroism, literary criticim
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Arts and Humanities > English and Creative Writing
Research Entities > Chichester Centre for Critical and Creative Writing
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Fiona Price
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2024 10:47
Last Modified: 17 May 2024 13:37
URI: https://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/7380

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item
▲ Top

Our address

I’m looking for