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'Hermsprong: or, Man As He Is Not' is a 1796 philosophical novel by Robert Bage. It is the main work for which Bage is remembered and was his last novel. He had previously published a novel entitled 'Man As He Is'.
The novel was regarded as radical at the time it was published. It was shaped by the revolutionary ideas of its period and expresses some feminist views through two of its characters, the eponymous hero and Maria Fluart.Ty 1993, p.12. The views voiced by Fluart were applauded by Mary Wollstonecraft.Knox-Shaw 2004, p.100.
The novel has a somewhat disjointed structure. The first section has a strong philosophical content. The latter half then changes to a sentimental novel form and approximates to a romance.
The philosophical challenge of the novel is that it concerns an American who has been raised entirely by American Indians, without either formal education or religion. With only nature to teach him, he sees through the hypocrisy of society and English manners. The novel is notable for pursuing the theme of the noble savage and, in particular, nativism.
Throughout the novel he repeatedly uses the terms "pride" and "prejudice" in just the senses picked up by Jane Austen in her novel of that title.
*1796.Faulkner edition, 1985, pp. xxi, xxiii.
*1828, Chiswick Press.
*1951, London: Turnstile Press, ed. Vaughan Wilkins.
*1971, Garland Press, facsimile of 1796 edition.
*1982, Pennsylvania State University Press, ed. Stuart Tave.
*1985, Oxford: The World's Classics, Oxford University Press, ed. Peter Faulkner.
*Peter Knox-Shaw, 'Jane Austen and the Enlightenment', Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN 978-0-521-84346-1
*Eleanor Ty, 'Unsex'd Revolutionaries', University of Toronto Press, 1993, ISBN 978-0-8020-7774-5
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