Delarivier Manley Criticism - Essay

Benjamin Boyce (essay date 1952)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Introduction to Prefaces to Fiction, William Andres Clark Memorial Library, No. 32, 1952, pp. i-x.

[In the following excerpt, Boyce contends that Manley's call for realistic action, authentic dialogue, and true-to-life characterizationexpressed in the preface to Queen Zarah—represents an important development in eighteenth-century prose fiction.]

The development of the English novel is one of the triumphs of the eighteenth century. Criticism of prose fiction during that period, however, is less impressive, being neither strikingly original nor profound nor usually more than fragmentary. Because the early statements of theory were mostly very...

(The entire section is 578 words.)

Malcolm J. Bosse (essay date 1972)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Introduction to The Adventures of Rivella, by Mary de la Rivière Manley, Garland Publishing, Inc., 1972, p. 120.

[In the essay below, Bosse offers a concise appraisal of Manley's autobiographical novel The Adventures of Rivella, which he regards as a moving and realistic work.]

The Adventures of Rivella was hastily written by Mary Manley, according to the publisher Edmund Curll, to offset and possibly forestall the publication of a philippic directed against her by Charles Gildon, which he was apparently composing at Curll's instigation.1 In her fictionalized autobiography she avoids defending her performance as a political writer and...

(The entire section is 1258 words.)

Malcolm J. Bosse (essay date 1972)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Introduction to Secret Memoirs from the New Atlantis, by Mary de la Rivière Manley, Garland Publishing, Inc., Vol. I and II, 1972, p. 238.

[In the essay reprinted below, Bosse emphasizes the unusual mixture of sensuality and high moral tone in the New Atalantis. Despite the novel's sensationalism, he argues, it is a skillful satire of early-eighteenth-century political figures.]

Mary Manley's skill and influence as a Tory propagandist during Queen Anne's reign has been tacitly recognized by the historian Trevelyan, who calls The New Atalantis, which first appeared in 1709, "the publication that did most harm to the Ministry that...

(The entire section is 1119 words.)

Jerry C. Beasley (essay date 1982)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Fiction as Contemporary History," in Novels of the 1740s, University of Georgia Press, 1982, pp. 53-73.

[In the following excerpt, Beasley points to discrepancies between the literary principles Manley espouses in the preface to Queen Zarah—especially realistic characterizationand what he regards as the novel's scurrilous portraits of the Duchess of Marlborough and other leading Whigs of the day.]

As feigned records of scandal and foolishness in places high and low, the spy fictions of Marana, Montesquieu, Lyttelton, and Mme de Graffigny all belong to the same family of pseudohistories, which also includes a prominent cousin, the secret...

(The entire section is 1354 words.)

Fidelis Morgan (essay date 1986)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Introduction to A Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs. Manley, Faber and Faber, 1986, pp. 17-23.

[In the essay below, Morgan provides an overview of Manley's autobiographical writings, judging them generally honest and forthright, even though they were all presented in fictional form. The critic also calls attention to Manley's popularity in her own lifetime and the influence of her work on prose writers of the later eighteenth century.]

I first came upon the autobiographical writings of Mrs Delarivier Manley in my research for The Female Wits. So much larger than life do they read that I was unsurprised when dependable reference works...

(The entire section is 2807 words.)

Janet Todd (essay date 1989)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Life after Sex: Delarivier Manley," in The Sign of Angellica: Women, Writing, and Fiction 1660-1800, Virago Press, 1989, pp. 84-98.

[In the following excerpt, Todd examines Manley's treatment of the conventional male linkage of women writers and whores, in her time period. Todd asserts that in The Adventures of Rivella the author subverts this identification by depicting a female writer who has learned the social and sexual power of words. She also surveys Manley's other fiction, remarking on her use of alternating narrative voices, her views on the function of literature, and her notions of how women must act in order to survive in a world that is both complex and...

(The entire section is 7101 words.)

Catherine Gallagher (essay date 1990)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Political Crimes and Fictional Alibis: The Case of Delarivier Manley," in Eighteenth-Century Studies, Vol. 23, No. 4, Summer, 1990, pp. 502-21.

[In the essay that follows, Gallagher analyzes the paradoxical relationship between politics, gender, and scandal fiction in Manley's novels. The critic proposes that while Manley, like her contemporaries, used allegory to protect herself from prosecution, she developed this technique further by shaping fictional circumstances into a narrative that could be read for its own enjoyment as well as its slanderous implications.]

When Delarivier1 Manley was arrested for seditious libel in 1709, according to her...

(The entire section is 10026 words.)