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Project Proposal: Analyzing the Social Functions of Front Paratext

My research project will focus on front paratext. I’d like to answer the question: “What can front paratext tell researchers about how the author and the society in which they lived viewed the novel at the time, and how did the authors view themselves as writers?” Additionally I’d like to explore how these elements were influenced by the author’s gender. So far, I know that I would look over END data from the 520 and 599 columns (which contain information about front paratext and the author’s gender) and arrange them in chronological order in order to see if there are any noticeable trends. For the sake of simplicity, I would use programs such as Microsoft Excel, Fusion Tables, OpenRefine, and Voyant to locate and manipulate relevant data, finally, I would produce an essay based on the conclusions I draw from these searches. As my secondary sources, I would use:

“Gendered Strategies in the Criticism of Early Fiction” by Laura L. Runge (1995)

"Stop a Moment at This Preface": The Gendered Paratexts of Fielding, Barker, and Haywood by Cheryl L. Nixon (2002)

“Bulwer's Godolphin: The Metamorphosis of the Fashionable Novel” by William E. Cragg (1986)

4Paratexts and the Construction of Author Identities: The Preface as Threshold and Thresholds in the Preface by