My dissertation tracks early developments in the concept of responsibility in the thirty years following the word’s first dictionary appearance two years before the outbreak of the French Revolution. In this goal, my research situates itself within a history of ideas. I trace “responsibility” from its original association with politics into the private and personal sphere as a result of the Revolution, through the lens of French and British fiction published between 1789 and 1814. My project examines three works from this traditionally understudied corpus of early revolutionary fiction to determine the early “missing links” in the conceptualization of responsibility and its migration from the political to the personal. By examining the theme of revolutionary madness and restoration, fictional representations and repercussions of the trial of Louis XVI, and the relationship of women to a modern ethic of responsibility, my dissertation offers a clearer insight into the way responsibility was envisioned by writers during the French revolutionary period in a way that continues to influence our thinking today.
|Contributor||Margaret Doody, Committee Member|
|Contributor||Julia Douthwaite, Committee Chair|
|Contributor||Catherine Perry, Committee Member|
|Degree Level||Doctoral Dissertation|
|Departments and Units|