Sociability as political activism
McDonald, Laura Elizabeth
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This thesis examines Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, Charlotte Smith’s Desmond, and William Godwin’s Caleb Williams as works of political activism. I approach these texts within the context of a newly developed sociability that combines the coffeehouse of the mid-eighteenth century with the new developments in publishing and the circulation of texts. In a time of constant political change, these texts engage with a new audience of men and women who are becoming more actively involved in agitating for political reforms. Because of these new audiences, Burke, Smith, and Godwin modify their methods of persuasion and didacticism to educate and convince their readership of their own political stance. The works discussed combine the political with the literary to convince new audiences of political arguments.