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Development and education of character in a selection of nineteenth-century English novels : A study of Alten Locke, The Autobiography of Mark Rutherford, The story of An African Farm, The Way of All Flesh, Father and Son.

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Haynes, RD (1970) Development and education of character in a selection of nineteenth-century English novels : A study of Alten Locke, The Autobiography of Mark Rutherford, The story of An African Farm, The Way of All Flesh, Father and Son. Unspecified thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

This study of five Victorian novels is basically an enquiry into the effects of nineteenth-century Realism on ideas of the development and presentation of character in the novel survey of the sociological origins and characteristics of literary Realism leads to a brief consideration of the autobiography and the autobiographical novel as specialized off-shoots of this movement, since personal experience came to be considered the only guarantee of authenticity. The autobiographical basis of each of the novels chosen was analysed as a preliminary step to forming some estimate of the effect of the author's personal experience on his depiction of a developing character. The following major factors affecting development and education In the later nineteenth century are then discussed in detail: contemporary views on the place of children in the community and the theoretical bases of their education; The Victorian family environment and the role of parents, seen as part of the "nature-nurture" controversy; formal educational systems, their limitations and proposed substitutes, and the concept of experience as education; the influence of religion, seen in all five of the mills as a repressive system which elicits the first acts of adolescent rebellion; the choice of a career as a step which determines friends, thought patterns and other more subtle environmental influences. There is also a study of the growing awareness of an "Inner self" as an important factor in characterization, and of the relation between this and the emerging science of psychology. Following the discussion of these largely-deterministic influences on the developing personality, there is a brief consideration of characteristic nineteenth-century attitudes in the debate on free-will and determinism, particularly as seen in the work of some of the major novelist. of the period. George Eliot's views of freedom and determinism in personal relationships are taken as a standard against which the presuppositions of the five novelists are compared. A summary of the stages of development which the protagonists are shown as undergoing, and the particular concept of maturity posited by the authors, leads to a comparison of the relative extent to which each author was aware of development as an evolving and continuous process rather than as a series of discrete stages. There follows a more technical discussion of the ways in which the novelists attempted to portray their characters as evolving according to their own personal insights and in particular the innovations which they introduced through their efforts to portray an "inner self" in their characters. The peculiar difficulties encountered by Halt White and Olive Schreiner in their presentation of characters who appear to be "commonplace" and largely inarticulate while being, in fact, thoughtful and deeply sensitive, are also considered. Finally the ways in which structure and style of writing are used as auxiliary means of characterisation are examined. Since the novels are being discussed within this framework, many avenues of critical analysis are clearly beyond the scope of this study. Thus the last chapter treats only those aspects of style which relate to characterisation, and such concepts as language and symbolism are only briefly mentioned.

Item Type: Thesis (Unspecified)
Keywords: English fiction
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1970 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
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Additional Information:

Thesis (M.A.) - University of Tasmania, 1970. Includes bibliography

Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2014 02:25
Last Modified: 23 May 2017 05:23
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