Responding to Responsibility in the Fiction of the French Revolution (1789-1814)

Doctoral Dissertation


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.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-04102015-111538

Author Sara Bramsen
Advisor Julia Douthwaite
Contributor Margaret Doody, Committee Member
Contributor Julia Douthwaite, Committee Chair
Contributor Catherine Perry, Committee Member
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Literature
Degree Name PhD
Defense Date
  • 2015-04-09

Submission Date 2015-04-10
  • United States of America

  • responsibility

  • novel

  • literature

  • French Revolution

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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