Goss, John Christopher (2011)
Other thesis, University of Birmingham.
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This thesis examines the progression of Robert Bage‘s development as a novelist by looking at his main campaigns for social reform through literary undertakings, namely:
• to improve the social standing of the impoverished,
• to work towards the emancipation of slaves,
• to reform the educational system for women.
Little has been previously written about Bage‘s personal contribution to these campaigns and a good amount of new biographical research has been introduced to show how he put into practice the things in which he believed. Within this structure is an argument that historical events, at local, national and even international level, helped change his perspective on life and society at the same time as his approach to novel-writing changed.
How these concerns took on a more mature guise is the subject of the literary-critical chapters which deal with poverty, slavery and women‘s advancement. Each of these topics, in its own way, shows just how important he considered a good educational system was to human progress. As far as my reading goes no authority has tried to assess the reasons why his reputation rests largely on the last two novels, which all consider to be his best.
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