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Narrative Structure and Reader Formation in Lady Mary Wroth's Urania (Hardcover) (Rahel Orgis)
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Narrative Structure and Reader Formation in Lady Mary Wroth’s Urania offers the first systematic formal and thematic analysis of Wroth’s Urania in its historical context and explores the structural means by which Wroth fashions her readership. The book thus has a dual focus, at once on narrative art and reader formation. It makes two original claims, the first being that the Urania is not the unorganized accumulation of stories critics have tended to present it as, but a work of sophisticated narrative structures i.e. a complex text in a positive sense. These structures are revealed by means of a circumspect narratological analysis of the formal and thematic patterns that organise the Urania. Such an analysis furthers our understanding of the reading strategies that Wroth encourages. The second claim is, then, that through the careful structuring of her text Wroth seeks to create her own ideal readership. More precisely, the formal and thematic structures of the Urania engage with readers’ expectations, inviting them to reflect on prominent thematic issues and respond to the text as what early modern prefaces term "good" readers. Combining narratological methods with a generic perspective and taking into account the work of book historians on early modern reading practices, this monograph provides a new approach to the Urania, supplementing the typically gender- or (auto)biographically-oriented interpretations of the romance. Moreover, it contributes to the study of early modern (prose) narrative and romance and exemplifies how historically contextualised narratological analysis may yield new insights and profit research on reading strategies.