Nature and Art
Nature and Art commands a central place in the history of the English Jacobin novel. Published in 1796, the story explores the opposition between the upbringing and actions of Henry Norwynne, an unspoiled “child of nature” who has been reared without books on an African island, and the corrupt conduct of his aristocratic older cousin, William. Inchbald was one of the best-known writers of her time, and Nature and Art represents her most concerted attempt to analyze the effects of education, power, and privilege on human behaviour.
This Broadview edition includes a critical introduction, contemporary reviews of the novel, and primary source material relating to the novel’s composition and its philosophical influences (including documents by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and William Godwin). Documents on education, political and religious corruption, and African colonization provide further historical context.