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Life Trumps Fiction - A Cervantine Moment in 18th-Century News Media
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (Berättande Liv Mening)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7232-2832
2017 (English)In: , 2017Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The Gunninghiad, a scandal in London news media, 1791 – 1792, serves in this paper as a microcosm of a reading culture keenly aware of the fact-fiction division. The issue in news reports and pamphlets was the reputations of three members of the Gunning family, but also the relationship between life and fiction, where the absurdity of life was seen to trump fiction, as the suffix –iad implies. This paper examines satirical publications included in the affair: a graphic satire by James Gillray: “The Siege of Blenheim, or the New System of Gunning Discovered,” an anonymous verse parody: “The For Lorn Maiden,” and a mock-apologia by John Gunning. I discuss the decoding of irony with reference to the narratological intentionality debate, particularly Chatman’s pragmatic approach where the intention of author, text and reader may serve, in combination, as an analytical “knife with three blades” (Nelles 110). In fact, in the three publications examined here a satirical knife severs real events from fictive illusion, or storyworlds from the actual world - by means of Cervantine parody (Dolezel). The satirical targets are to be found in the immediate social context, and the parodic targets in recent publications, making it necessary to relate each publication to the most recent reports in the affair, contextualizing case by case. Although involved in a debate about real events, the three publications do not appeal to the readers’ faith - neither historical nor poetic; readers are rather expected to respond with disbelief, perceiving all parties involved as deluded Quixotes. The ironists thus exploited the fact that the pamphleteers’ accounts of real events relied on fictional patterns, playing games with the readers’ capacity to monitor sources, banking, in fact, on their competence, in the “irrepressibly satirical climate” of the time (Gilman 44).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keywords [en]
Parody, graphic satire, satiric verse, apology, metafiction, hypothetical intentionalism, Elizabeth Gunning
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-64117OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-64117DiVA, id: diva2:1173706
Conference
Fact and Fiction in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, France, December 8-9, 2017
Available from: 2018-01-13 Created: 2018-01-13 Last updated: 2018-01-15Bibliographically approved

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Uddén, Anna

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CiteExportLink to record
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