by Mary Brunton
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Discipline, the second novel by the Scottish writer Mary Brunton (1778-1818), was published in 1814. While less well known than its predecessor Self-Control (1811), it is nonetheless equally deserving of a central place in the canon of Romantic-era fiction. A wide-ranging novel, it shares many themes with contemporary fiction such as women’s difficulties in earning money and the horror of being falsely imprisoned in an insane asylum. However, it is Discipline’s innovative attempt at psychological realism that sets it apart from its contemporaries. Through the moral growth of its heroine Ellen Percy, Discipline insists on women’s self-determination, and their ability to become rational agents in a world that treats them as objects merely of desire or contempt. This edition is edited by Olivia Murphy who has added careful editorial notes and an insightful new introduction to the text.