Matching Items (2)

Filtering by

Clear all filters

156049-Thumbnail Image.png

Mixed-race heroines in early nineteenth-century literature: a look at Jane Austen and her contemporaries

Description

The purpose of this project is to analyze Jane Austen's unfinished novel Sanditon (1817) and its inclusion of a character of color. This thesis discusses Austen's mixed-race heiress, Miss Lambe, in the context of two other pieces of fiction that

The purpose of this project is to analyze Jane Austen's unfinished novel Sanditon (1817) and its inclusion of a character of color. This thesis discusses Austen's mixed-race heiress, Miss Lambe, in the context of two other pieces of fiction that feature mixed-race heroines--the anonymously published The Woman of Colour (1808) and Mary Ann Sullivan's Owen Castle (1816). Scholarship on Austen's awareness of the Abolitionist movement and her sympathy for its politics has previously been published. I advance our conversations on the subject by discussing Austen's Miss Lambe as a mixed-race heiress in the context of gender, race, and ethnicity in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century novels. My thesis considers literary and historical treatments of people of color and provides a trans-Atlantic approach to female characters identified as mixed race.

Juxtaposing Sanditon, The Woman of Colour, and Owen Castle provides insight into how Austen was working within a set of established literary traditions, while creating ways to disrupt some of its problematic elements. This project looks at conventions of the mixed-race female characters in five ways. To begin, I discuss the mixed-race heroine and the compulsion to define her place of origin. Second, I consider the convention of describing mixed-race heiresses' rights to their inheritance. An analysis of the significance of naming mixed-race heiresses follows. I discuss literary conventions of the betrayal of mixed-race females. Lastly, I explore the common use of black maid figures in novels of this era to advance social critique against prejudice. Comparative analysis of Austen with other novels featuring mixed-race heroines in this era allows us to reach new understandings of Sanditon. Austen's unfinished last novel is shown to question the power of fortune, to undermine the orthodoxy of categorizing race and ethnicity, and to unsettle the hierarchy among characters of different races and ethnicities.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2017

154386-Thumbnail Image.png

The Anglo-Scottish Union and British national identity in women's writing, 1780-1820

Description

The union between England and Scotland, which created the United Kingdom of Great Britain, generated heated discussion both before and after the Acts of Union took effect on May 1, 1707. Members of Parliament, the nobility, clergymen, pamphleteers, and authors

The union between England and Scotland, which created the United Kingdom of Great Britain, generated heated discussion both before and after the Acts of Union took effect on May 1, 1707. Members of Parliament, the nobility, clergymen, pamphleteers, and authors from both nations participated in debates on the Union, in many kinds of writing, for many years after 1707. The voices of British women, however, have not been sufficiently considered in our scholarship, and are often conspicuously absent from our accounts of these polemical wars, which were still raging in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This dissertation seeks to fill this gap in the academic conversation by taking Scottish, English, and British nationalisms as its theoretical paradigm in approaching writing by female authors. The dissertation's chapters examine how the Anglo-Scottish Union figures in the works by five women writers (Jane Austen, Cassandra Cooke, Dorothy Wordsworth, Mary Brunton, and Susan Ferrier) publishing from 1780 to 1820.

I argue that, in the aftermath of the Union, these women writers often expressed specifically gendered concerns— such as the maintenance of social etiquette, better education for women, making sense of national prejudices, and the erasure of regional socio-economic differences. In doing so, they ranged beyond a typically masculine focus on parliamentary politics, international military endeavors, macro economy, and national churches. English women writers' attitudes towards the Union were more positive than those entertained by Scots authors, but compared with contemporary male writers, both sides were less optimistic about the potential for building a blanket national identity for the entire Kingdom.

Taken together, the chapters of the dissertation provide a more comprehensive view of how the Anglo-Scottish Union figured in the minds of Britons, male and female, a century after its establishment, when the Kingdom was going through the Napoleonic Wars and another union with Ireland. The dissertation enriches our research on women's use of literary genres and techniques when taking part in political debates. It also serves to point out the need for more extensive surveys of the nuances of individual women writers' national affiliations.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2016