An Epoch in the Mind of the Reader
  • A. A. Markley


The outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 and the tumultuous political events that shook France in the decade to follow brought about dramatic repercussions in the development of British fiction. As the British focused their attention on shocking events in France, those events gave rise to heated political debate. Liberal thinkers—typified by perhaps their most influential spokesman, Thomas Paine—recognized the parallels between the ideals of the French revolutionaries and those of the American colonies thirteen years earlier. Those who championed individual rights applauded the French people’s determination to free themselves from an oppressive government and class system. By contrast, conservatives such as Edmund Burke mourned the passing of France’s ancien régiyne and feared that the violent actions of the French would inspire the lower classes in England to attempt to launch a similar revolution at home.


Hateful Crime Individual Reader Happy Ending Social Ostracism Oppressive Government 
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© A. A. Markley 2009

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