Reception History & Analysis:
Robinson's The Natural Daughter
LITR 414: "Romanticisms: British literature, 1770-1830"
Lisa M. Wilson, SUNY Potsdam
- Summarize & analyze the ways the novel was received by examining the critical reviews written at the time it was published. (See Appendix H of Setzer edition). What overall trends do you see in the reviews? Do they agree with each other, or do they substantially differ? In what ways? Why, do you think? What themes and artistic strategies do the reviewers comment on? What other kinds of literary and social texts do the reviewers mention in critiquing the novel? What kinds of terms do they use? What is the significance of those choices, do you think? What critical points of view do the reviewers take for granted? What cultural viewpoints do they assume? How do those assumptions influence their reading of the novel?
- Use the ideas in the reviews to develop an interpretation of the novel itself. What scenes, specifically, do you think the reviewers are referring to? Do you agree with their readings of those scenes? Why or why not?
- Note: Although I've separated out the questions that analyze the reviews and those in which you'll develop a reading of the novel itself, you may choose to organize your essay differently; say, for example, by integrating your interpretation of the novel and your critique of the reviews with your analysis of the reviews rather than writing two separate sections.
- Essays should be at least four pages of text, not including works cited page (at least 1,500 words). More is okay; fewer will reduce your paper grade.
- Be sure to define any literary, poetic, or historical terms you use.
- Develop an arguable thesis stating your interpretation and point to specific details to support your thesis (from the reviews and from the novel).
- Use MLA format (heading, margins, citations & works cited, etc.)
- You may develop your own topic only if I okay it beforehand. If you use secondary sources other than Setzer's introduction to the Broadview edition to construct your essay, you must provide me with hard copies of the sources when you turn it in.
- Follow the SUNY Potsdam Honor Code: Essays must be wholly your own work and written in response to this assignment; be sure to cite sources fully & accurately.