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Thomas Love Peacock (1785-1866) is not as famous as other nineteenth-century British writers, but his fame rests on his conversational novels: the central part of the action is taken up by conversations around a table, where characters discuss (and satirise) fashionable opinions of the day.

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From an epistemological point of view, the nineteenth century bade defiance to long-established knowledge. Lyell and Darwin, through their geological and biological studies, questioned the Church and biblical authority and, furthermore, the philosophers of suspicion (Marx, Nietzsche and Freud) ultimately challenged human life itself by

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