Engendering Legitimacy

Susan Paterson Glover

Law, Property, and Early Eighteenth-Century Fiction

231 pages
ISBN 1611482225
LC 2005029456
Bucknell Studies in Eighteenth Century Literature and Culture

Engendering Legitimacy is a study of the intersecting of law, land, property, and gender in the prose fiction of Mary Davys, Daniel Defoe, Eliza Haywood, and Jonathan Swift. The law of property in early modern England established relations for men and women that artificially constructed, altered, and ended their connections with the material world, and the land they lived upon. The cultural role of land and law in a changing economy embracing new forms of property became a founding preoccupation around which grew the imaginative prose fiction that would develop into the English novel. Susan Glover contends that questions of political and legal legitimacy raised by the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89 were transposed to the domestic and literary spheres of the early 1700s. Well researched and compellingly argued, Engendering Legitimacy examines the ways by which experimentation in prose fiction begins to re-vision the period's enmeshing of law, land, property, and political power, as the four writers imagine new grounds for authorial and political legitimacy.

"Even as Engendering Legitimacy opens up compelling questions about the relationship between changes in the law of landed property and changes in fictional form, the book's wonderfully researched historical itinerary significantly contributes to documentnig the complex imbrication of property, law, inheritance, legitimacy, and gender at a crucial moment in the rise of prose fiction." --Lynn Festa, Rutgers University (Scriblerian, Autumn 2008)

About the author:

Susan Paterson Glover is Assistant Professor of English at Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, where she teaches courses on Restoration and eighteenth-century British Literature and women of letters in the eighteenth century. Her publications include articles on Maria Edgeworth, Robert Rogers, and Samuel Johnson.


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