Sympathy and National Identity in Scottish and English Writing 1707-1832
Feeling British argues that the discourse of sympathy both encourages and problematizes a sense of shared national identity in eighteenth-century and Romantic British literature and culture. Although the 1707 Act of Union officially joined England and Scotland, government policy alone could not overcome centuries of feuding and ill will between these nations. Accordingly, the literary public sphere became a vital arena for the development and promotion of a new national identity: Britishness. The book starts by examining the political implications of the Scottish Enlightenment's theorization of sympathy, the mechanism by which emotions are shared between people. From these philosophical beginnings, this study tracks how sympathetic discourse is deployed by a variety of authors - including Defoe, Smollett, Johnson, Wordsworth, and Scott - invested in constructing, but also in questioning, an inclusive sense of what it means to be British.
About the author:
Evan Gottlieb is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Oregon State University, where he teaches courses on eighteenth-century and Romantic British literature, and literary and critical theory. He received his BA summa cum laude from McMaster University (Canada), and his MA and PhD from the University at Buffalo, SUNY. His articles and reviews have appeared in such journals as Studies in Romanticism, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, and The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation. He is currently at work on a book on Romanticism and globalization.