Literary comparisons: Social dynamics and the eighteenth-century British novel
The British novel was an important factor in the public negotiation of cultural change during the eighteenth century. In particular, explicit and implicit literary comparisons between characters on the levels of both content and narrative form played an important role by evoking, commenting on, and evaluating contemporary social practices of comparing. Thus, the novel did not merely document social change, but creatively explored aspects and criteria of comparing within British society – an exploration that fed back into social discourse. The project is investigating this intersection of literary and social practices of comparing against the backdrop of historical processes of modernisation in the 18th century.