Eighteenth-Century Escape Tales

Michael J. Mulryan and Denis D. Grélé (Eds.)

Between Fact and Fiction

168 pages
ISBN 9781611487701

This volume is a study of the interdisciplinary nature of prison escape tales and their impact on European cultural identity in the eighteenth century. Prison escape narratives are reflections of the tension between the individual's potential happiness via freedom and the confines of the social order. Contemporary readers identified with the prisoner, who, like them suffered the injustices of an absolutist regime. The state imprisons such renegades not just out of a desire to protect the public but more importantly to protect the state itself. Hence, prison escape tales can be linked with a revolutionary tendency: when free, such former detainees equipped with a pen openly and justly challenge the status quo, hoping to inspire their readers to do the same. Escape tales have had a considerable impact on cultural identity, because they embody the interdependent relationship between literature and myth on the one hand and literature and history on the other.


"The authors of this edited volume invite readers to consider a variety of eighteenth-century escape tales, both historical and literary. These stories differ in many respects: chronology, gender, and the conditions of escape all distinguish the tales presented here. Yet, as the title suggests, the tension 'between fact and fiction' provides a link between them. Each author emphasizes the way in which the escape tales they analyze reflected, as well as shaped, changing notions of the individual and his or her relationship to authority in eighteenth-century France . . . This volume is valuable for literary scholars as well as cultural historians interested in literature's power to articulate social and political critiques in eighteenth-century France." -Elizabeth Tuttle, Penn State University; French Review (91.4)

About the editors:

Michael J. Mulryan is associate professor of French at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia.

Denis D. Grélé is associate professor of French at the University of Memphis in Tennessee.


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