The English Jacobin Novel on Rights, Property and the Law is a study of the radical novel's critique of the evolving social contract in the 1790s. Focusing on selected novels by Thomas Holcroft, Charlotte Smith, Elizabeth Inchbald, Robert Bage, William Godwin, Mary Hays, Mary Wollstone-craft and Maria Edgeworth, this book examines narrative investigations into the intricate relationships between theories of rights, the requirements of proprietorship in civil society, and the construction of the legal subject. The novel's inquiries into political transformations at the end of the eighteenth century reveal that the exclusion of certain segments of the population from political participation - based on financial dependence - persisted into notions of the social contract. English Jacobin fiction tells the tale of how the novel, in one critical moment of history, located and gave meaning to a theory of rights that became a foundation of modern democracy.

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