Secret history, with its claim to expose secrets of state and the sexual intrigues of monarchs and ministers, alarmed and thrilled readers across Europe and America from the mid-seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth century. Scholars have recognised for some time the important position that the genre occupies within the literary and political culture of the Enlightenment. Of interest to students of British, French and American literature, as well as political and intellectual history, this new volume of essays demonstrates for the first time the extent of secret history's interaction with different literary traditions, including epic poetry, Restoration drama, periodicals, and slave narratives. It reveals secret history's impact on authors, readers, and the book trade in England, France, and America throughout the long eighteenth century. In doing so, it offers a case study for approaching questions of genre at moments when political and cultural shifts put strain on traditional generic categories.
Rebecca Bullard is a Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Reading. She is the author of The Politics of Disclosure, 1674-1725: Secret History Narratives (2009) and editor of The Fair Penitent and The Ambitious Step-Mother for The Plays and Poems of Nicholas Rowe, Volume 1 (2016). Rachel Carnell is a Professor of English at Cleveland State University, Ohio. Professor Carnell is the author of Partisan Politics, Narrative Realism and the Rise of the British Novel (2006), A Political Biography of Delarivier Manley (2008), and co-editor of the five-volume Selected Works of Delarivier Manley (with Ruth Herman, 2005). She has also had several research articles published on subjects such as secret history, Aphra Behn, Samuel Richardson and Eliza Haywood.
Introduction: reconsidering secret history Rebecca Bullard; Part I. Seventeenth-Century England: 1. Paradise Lost as a secret history Michael McKeon; 2. Secret history and seventeenth-century historiography Martine W. Brownley; 3. Secret history and restoration drama Erin Keating; 4. Secret history and allegory David A. Brewer; 5. Secret history and amatory fiction Claudine van Hensbergen; 6. Secret history and spy narratives Slaney Chadwick Ross; Part II. Eighteenth-Century Britain: 7. Secret history, parody, and satire Melinda Alliker Rabb; 8. Secret history and it-narrative Rivka Swenson; 9. Secret history, oriental tale, and fairy tale Ros Ballaster; 10. Secret history and the periodical Nicola Parsons; 11. Secret history and censorship Eve Tavor Bannet; 12. Secret history and anecdote April London; 13. Secret history in the Romantic period Miranda Burgess; Part III. France and America: 14. Secret history in pre-revolutionary France Allison Stedman; 15. Secret history in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century France Antoinette Sol; 16. Secret history in British North America and the early Republic Kevin Joel Berland; 17. Secret history in the early nineteenth-century Americas Gretchen J. Woertendyke; Epilogue: secret history at the start of the twenty-first century Rachel Carnell.