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1. The titles of the novels published in 1778 are far longer and more descriptive than the titles we would see today. Many of them go the route that "Pamela" and "Evelina" did in that they offer two titles, one shorter and concise and the other longer and more descriptive (ex: "Evelina or, A Young Lady's Entrance Into the World"). Others took the older approach of giving a summary of the novel's themes or events in the title, a holdover from the time before the novel had really risen to prominence as a literary form. Though the latter approach was still employed for years to come, as evidenced by the bibliography, it is clearly the residual form whereas the former is the emergent form. This seems to be the transitory period between this prototypical approach and the honed, economical titling conventions we are familiar with today. Where did this need for economy of language come from? Perhaps authors recognized that the long-winded, plot-outlining titles were a) difficult to be recommended via word-of-mouth due to their length, and/or b) that giving away so much of the plot and themes might discourage potential readers, who might have been swayed in the other direction had the intrigue of mystery remained.
2. I examined "The Unfortunate Union: or, the Test of Virtue," "The History of Eliza Warwick," "The Example: or the History of Lucy Cleveland," and "A Trip to Melasge..." The first thing that struck me was the purpose of the preface in each of these novels. They were written as direct appeals to critics, asking for forgiveness for the factual inaccuracies, downplaying the quality of their own work, and showering the critics with praise. In the case of the authors of "The Unfortunate Union," "The History of Eliza Warwick," and "The Example," which all display the female gender of the author either in the title or in the preface, they specifically ask for lenience in light of the shortcomings of women. Not so with Frances Burney in the preface to "Evelina." She points out both the risks and perceived insincerity of this tradition, saying, "I will not, however, with the futility of apologies intrude upon your time, but briefly acknowledge the motives of my temerity: left, by a premature exercise of that patience which I hope will befriend me, I should lessen its benevolence, and be myself accessary to my own condemnation... The language of adulation, and the incense of flattery, though the natural inheritance, and constant resource, from time immemorial, of the Dedicator, to me offer nothing but the wistful regret that I dare not invoke their aid. Sinister views would be imputed to all I could say; since, thus situated, to extol your judgment, would seem the effect of art, and to celebrate your impartiality, be attributed to suspecting it."
It's interesting that Burney chose to point out this practice and criticize it, given that this would effectively eliminate this tool from her arsenal in all future endeavors. It seems to indicate a certain boldness that these other authors lacked, as well as a higher degree of integrity. In doing this, she's indirectly throwing her peers under the bus for the sake of elevating evaluations of her own character and, by extension, her work. I wonder if any critics saw this as a veiled attempt at appealing to them, which probably could be argued as a far more artful and insincere strategy than the ones employed by her contemporaries. Whatever her intentions, the move was a gamble. It was brave of her to eschew the self-deprecating practices of her peers and allow her novel to stand on its own. She made no apologies for being a woman, nor made much mention of her gender at all, a progressive step considering how common it was to comment on and display the gender of female authors in their titles and prefaces.
3. The term cluster for 1770 to 1800 was made up of the terms: Life, King, Volumes, Tale, Series of Letters, and History. Under all but Tale and Series of Letters were multiple terms that were most commonly related to these terms. Because the engine only analyzes the titles, prefaces, and first 100 pages of the texts, the results are certainly skewed toward examining titular conventions and the practices of the preface. The content of the texts themselves are harder to parse out or examine with this tool. Term frequency is a more specialized tool, one that requires that you first find a relevant set of terms that you know are important to analyze for whatever study you're doing.