National Identity, Female Community, and the British-French Connection, 1770-1820
Bucknell Studies in Eighteenth Century Literature and Culture
Women Writing the Nation engages in recent discussions of the development of British nationalism during the eighteenth century and Romantic period. Leanne Maunu argues that women writers looked not to their national identity, but rather to their gender identity to make claims about the role of women within the British nation. Women writers wanted to make it seem as if they were writing as members of a fairly stable community, even if such a community was composed of many different women with many different beliefs. They appropriated the model of collectivity posed by the nation, mimicking a national imagined community. In essence, because British-French relations dominated the national imagination, women had to think about their own gender concerns in national terms as well.
"Maunu's treatment of British women's use of national comparison as an occasion for articulating women's roles in society is refreshing given the trend to analyze these writers exclusively in terms of gender. The focus on novels that are now widely known, but not the subject of extensive scholarship...is also an asset."--Mary Helen McMurran, Eighteenth-Century Fiction 2009: 131.
"...Maunu's valuable and in-depth rereading of both of these Burney novels within the context of Anglo-French tension is both welcome and long overdue. The chapters upon Charlotte Smith and Mary Wollstonecraft are also well-written and persuasive..."--Angela Wright, European Romantic Review, 24:1, 75-79.
About the author:
Leanne Maunu is Associate Professor of English at Palomar College.
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