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Abstract

What did Mary Queen of Scots have to do with the rise of historical fiction in Britain? Quite a lot if we picture that fiction as heir to two of the mid-eighteenth century's seemingly opposite accomplishments--the discontinuous idiom of sensibility and the linear, coherent narratives of enlightenment historiography. My epigraphs all place Mary Stuart at a point where modem historiography meets sentimental discourse. Each identifies her with a kind of sign-pictorial, particular, and emotionally provocative--that troubles any dispassionate linguistic structure bent on replicating the seamless passage of chronological time.

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