The Exalted Heroine and the Triumph of Order

  • K. G. Hall
Part of the Edinburgh Studies in Culture and Society book series (ESCS)


In each of the novels discussed in this study there is evidence of the authors’ tendency to promote an idealised model of the ‘good’ woman. The qualities attributed to these heroines may include philanthropy, loyalty, obedience and so on, but more generally they are shown as constituting a powerful moral force simply by their presence. All the heroines have high moral status, and in some cases (such as those of Pamela and Amelia) are morally superior to their men. In three of the works (Pamela, Amelia, The Spiritual Quixote) the moral strength of the heroine plays a major part in ‘converting’ and subsequently supporting the major male character. In all the novels, the heroine’s worthiness ensures that she is viewed ‘meritocratically’, is eventually rewarded with a suitable partner, and — where appropriate — is allowed to achieve upward social mobility. Heroines are materially rewarded in all the novels except The Spiritual Quixote and Hermsprong (and in the former, minor heroines receive such rewards).


Seventeenth Century Social Mobility Moral Worth Religious Pluralism Domestic Sphere 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    A. S. Haskell, ‘The Portrayal of Women by Chaucer and his Age’, in M. Springer (ed.), What Manner of Woman (Oxford, 1978), pp. 1–14, (p. 7 ).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    R. J. Clements and J. Gibaldi, Anatomy of the Novella (New York, 1977 ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© K. G. Hall 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. G. Hall

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations