Women, Conservatism, and the Novel After the French Revolution
Bucknell Studies in Eighteenth Century Literature and Culture
The events of the French Revolution resulted in a reactionary backlash in Britain in the 1790s, which had radical implications not only for social policy and legislation, but also for the form and content of British literature.
In Modes of Discipline, Lisa Wood examines British women writers who opposed what they construed as the poison of revolutionary thought, and who used the novel form in their search for a vehicle to carry a counterrevolutionary antidote. Reading the writings of Jane West, Hannah Moore, Elizabeth Hamiliton, Mary Brunton, Laetitia Matilda Hawkins, and Jane Porter in relation to each other, and to those of their anti-revolutionary contemporaries, this impeccably research and imaginatively engaged book shows that these writers developed an alternative feminine - but not feminist - discourse within the broader context of conservative print culture. At the same time, Dr. Wood demonstrates that these attempts to convey a counterrevolutionary lesson resulted in generic innovation that helped to shape the form of the British novel in unexpected and far-reaching ways.
Modes of Discipline thus makes a powerful and persuasive intervention in the debates about canon formation at a crucial moment in our literary history.
About the author:
Lisa Wood's interest in women's writing and narrative practic at the end of the long eighteenth century has produced articles on Jane West and Hannah More, and numerous conference papers on women writers, politics, gender, and narrative form. Her recent research examines representations of masculinity and nation in women's writing of the early nineteenth century, and the implication of eighteenth-century books of household management in the development of British nationalism. Dr. Wood teaches in the department of Humanities at York University, Canada.
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