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Counterfactual Romanticism$
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Damian Walford Davies

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781784991418

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7765/9781526107077

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Sophia Lee’s The Recess and the epistemology of the counterfactual

Sophia Lee’s The Recess and the epistemology of the counterfactual

Chapter:
(p.107) 4 Sophia Lee’s The Recess and the epistemology of the counterfactual
Source:
Counterfactual Romanticism
Author(s):

Tilottama Rajan

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7765/9781526107077.00010

Focusing on Sophie Lee’s novel The Recess (1783–85), this chapter discusses the uncanny ‘folds’ of the actual and the virtual in Lee’s early alternate history novel of sixteenth-century Scotland and England. Attending to the novel’s bewildering doublings and twinnings, its interplay of historical and fictional personages, the chapter develops a theory of counterfactualism that is focused on form and narrative. The strategies of Lee’s novel render history’s ‘facts’ and personae exchangeable and ‘depthless’, resulting not in a ‘genealogy’ but rather a discursive ‘narratology’ in which entities (and thus ‘history’) are defined only by relational difference.

Keywords:   Sophia Lee, epistemology of the counterfactual, alternate history, simulation, Deleuze

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