The Scribbler’s Tales and Scribbling,Talking and Jangling: Ned Ward’s The London Spy in the discursive spaces of late seventeenth-century London

James, Anna (2017) The Scribbler’s Tales and Scribbling,Talking and Jangling: Ned Ward’s The London Spy in the discursive spaces of late seventeenth-century London. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

The creative component of this thesis is a novel, The Scribbler’s Tales, set in late seventeenth-century London. My narrator, Nathaniel Spicer, writes from Marshalsea Prison, where he is held for seditious libel. The tales he tells mix history, fiction and myth to narrate London’s rise out of the ashes of the Great Fire, as well as Nathaniel’s involvement in the rise of professional journalism and partisan politics.
My narrative is inspired by Robert Mayer’s argument that: ‘in the seventeenth century historical discourse embraced not only “history” in its modern sense, but also fiction, polemic, gossip, and marvels’. The Scribbler’s Tales experiments with this ambivalent mode of narration, seeking a modern style of storytelling to match the ambiguity that critics such as Kate Loveman have identified in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century fictions.
I refer to these theories in the critical part of my thesis, which examines Ned Ward’s periodical The London Spy (1698-1700) within the discursive spaces of late seventeenth-century London. Unlike critics who have either dismissed or re-evaluated Ward in relation to aesthetic or social value criteria, I seek to explore, not ignore, his inherent ambivalence. I relate this ambivalence to his identity as a professional writer or ‘scribbler’, portrayed by contemporaries as a hybrid figure straddling the commercial and literary realms.
To approach Ward’s work in a fresh way, I treat him as part of an evolving commercialised literary culture. I place The London Spy within the context of the London print trade, and analyse Ward’s rhetorical and narrative strategies in relation to satire, the grotesque and the blurring of fiction and fact. I anchor these discussions in my analysis of Ward’s representation of discourse – the words spoken, written and performed by his narrator and characters – which he locates in the public spaces of his fictionalised London.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2017 13:54
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2017 13:54
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/63980
DOI:

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