Motherhood, Mother Country, and Migrant Maternity

  • Barbara LeonardiEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)


Leonardi discusses the idea of the well-managed, middle-class, domestic household as symbol for the politically successful government of the British nation and the pivotal role of the mother figure in the family metaphor for the “continuation of the nation.” This chapter draws attention to how some nineteenth-century literary texts challenged such discourses by portraying out-of-wedlock pregnancy, prostitution, and infanticide. It contends that Mary Wollstonecraft contradicted her conservative ideas about motherhood in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by depicting a familial nucleus of only women in her two novels Mary: A Fiction (1788) and The Wrongs of Woman: or Maria. A Fragment (1798). The chapter also explores the treatment of infanticide in Walter Scott’s The Heart of Midlothian (1818) and in James Hogg’s Mador of the Moor (1816).


Mother figure Motherhood Family metaphor Lesbian bonding Out-of-wedlock pregnancy Prostitution Infanticide Domestic violence Mary Wollstonecraft Walter Scott James Hogg A Vindication of the Rights of Woman Mary: A Fiction The Wrongs of Woman: or Maria. A Fragment The Heart of Midlothian Mador of the Moor 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Independent ScholarLondonUK

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