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Written by Elena
(4/1/2003 2:01 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: were novels downright unhealthy?, penned by Cherie
] I recall (though I haven't been able to find the reference this evening) that Thomas Jefferson, in about the 1790s, urged his daughter to stay away from novels because they inflamed the baser instincts and fueled unhealthy fantasies! 8-) I wonder if he had gothic novels specifically in mind. He did approve of poetry and drama (particularly Shakespeare).
In 1810 (so later than NA was written, but before it was published) Sarah Green's Romance Readers and Romance Writers in three volumes appeared. It is a satirical novel, and concerns a lady (one of two sisters) who've read too many Gothic novels for her health. She calls herself Margaritta and speaks in such style, "O heavens! what sacrilegious hand has destroyed the recreative amusement of my leisure-hours, and impeded my itineration through the delightful labyrinths of imagination?" (This book is in Chawton Library.)
Sanditon was mentioned already, but, I believe, JA had in mind the dangers of reading novels, when she made Emma to imagine Harriet (a picture of a beautiful romance heroine, if there was one) to be a foundling of aristocratic origin.
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