In Quest of the Self

Masquerade and Travel in the Eighteenth-Century Novel. Fielding, Smollett, Sterne


In recent decades the masquerade has enjoyed a revival in literary and cultural studies. It has been seen as a symptom of the irrational trends permeating the Age of Reason and as a sign of the instability, arbitrariness as well as non-essentiality of personal identity; notions testifying to affinities between the eighteenth century and our own time. In Quest of the Self offers a new consideration not only of the masquerade as such, but also of the ways in which it was transposed into literature during the period. Here it emerges as a dominant trope governing the poetics and the ideological dimensions of selected eighteenth-century novels by Henry Fielding, Tobias Smollett and Laurence Sterne. Throughout, the book demonstrates that the travelling protagonists of the novels, metaphorically speaking, take part in the ‘masquerade of the world’, finding themselves in quest of their own selves and struggling to determine who they really are.
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Biographical Note

Jakub Lipski is Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Kazimierz Wielki University, Bydgoszcz. His research concerns the eighteenth-century novel and culture, particularly the works of Henry Fielding, Tobias Smollett, Laurence Sterne and Ann Radcliffe, as well as the correspondences between word and image.

Table of contents

Abbreviations Preface Introduction: The Discourse of Identity in Eighteenth-Century Fiction Part One: Joseph Andrews and Tom Jones: Travellers in the Masquerading World 1. Fielding’s Travellers 2. The Masquerading World 3. Joseph and Tom in the Masquerading World Part Two: Roderick Random and Peregrine Pickle: Protean Travellers 4. Smollett’s Travellers 5. Roderick’s and Peregrine’s Protean Identities 6. The Masquerading Protagonists Part Three: A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy: Masquerade and Sentimentalism 7. Tradition and Novelty in Yorick’s Journey 8. The Poetics of Mask and Sentiment 9. Yorick as a Polyphonic Character Conclusion Bibliography Index