Date of Award

Spring 2004

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Rivero, Albert J.

Second Advisor

Hoeveler, Diane L.

Third Advisor

Duffy, Edward


Samuel Richardson's dour reflections on marriage in Clarissa (1747-48) introduce a question heroines often ponder in courtship novels: what will happen after marriage? If such concerns over the loss of independence in marriage are founded, then it is hardly surprising that so many young women in courtship novels spend so much time actively trying to postpone what most of them see as an inevitable event. My goal in this study is to examine how the heroines in five British courtship novels by women-The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless (1751), The Female Quixote (1752), The Excursion (1777), Evelina (1778), and Emma (1816)-use creativity to, in essence, buy themselves time during the threshold between entering the world as an adult, marriageable woman and marrying. Creativity seems to be a constant presence in domestic fiction written during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The types of creativity in these novels vary: in some, creativity involves developing a new world view, while in others, it appears in the more traditional sense of artistic expression. However, in courtship novels, creativity is closely linked with self-development. By attempting to challenge the assumption that women will be defined by their husbands, these heroines find creative solutions to the problem of a potential loss of identity...



Restricted Access Item

Having trouble?