‘Taking Sides with the Princess’: Sarah Green’s <em>Private History of the Court of England</em> (1808) between Scandal Fiction and Historical Novel
Abstract: Sarah Green’s Private History of the Court of England is, in L.M. Wilson’s words, a “political-social satire in the ‘secret history’ or satirical roman-à-clef mode”, which was published anonymously in 1808. Under the cover of its fifteenth-century setting, the novel presents the reader with the secret history of contemporary celebrities. More interestingly, by drawing parallels between the early reign of Edward IV and the present, the narrative engages with the Delicate Investigation into the conduct of Princess Caroline of Brunswick, which took place in 1806. In spite of its countless naiveties and anachronisms, this work is still worth studying, as it inventively and intriguingly fuses two novelistic modes that were extremely popular at the time: the scandal novel, which had its brief heyday in the years 1806-1811, and the newly formed historical novel. In so doing, it offers a valuable insight into the socio-cultural and, even more remarkably, the literary panorama of the politically turbulent pre-Regency years.
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