Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 26 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The eighteenth century provided the socio-economic, cultural, and philosophical conditions wherein the novel, a ‘new species of writing’, could flourish. The restive theological climate of the time, with its threatening extremes of enthusiasm and deism, also coloured the outlook of the pioneer novelists of the time. Reliance upon the providence of God in a world increasingly perceived as unstable served as a major thematic backcloth. This article traces a slow but steady movement in the presentation of the place of the divine from the somewhat artless representation of providence in the work of Daniel Defoe, through Samuel Richardson's world as a proving ground of suffering and redemption. It also examines Laurence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy and Henry Fielding's attempts to reassure people with his Shaftesburian morality that all is well.

Keywords: providence, theism, Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.