Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Kevin L. Cope


Beginning with the historical example provided by the extended text of the Popish Plot, that is, by the polemical press battle which raged during this major threat to Charles II's Restoration government, I identify what I term a narrator/narrative disjunction. The narrator/narrative disjunction occurs when the narrator or teller relates one story, while the narrative he or she relates suggests or strongly intimates that the narrator should be adjudged less than reliable. In the course of this exploration, I read several Tory polemical texts on the Popish Plot, including Dryden's Absalom and Achitophel, not as literary works, but rather as literary critiques of the extended text of the Popish Plot. Turning my attentions to two admittedly fictional narratives, Sidney's Old Arcadia and Defoe's Moll Flanders, I then explore the ways in which these works, and any literary text displaying a narrator/narrative disjunction, may be critiqued according to the same rules established by Tory polemicists during their "readings" of the narrator/narrative disjunction present in the extended text of the Popish Plot.