Advertisement

Romantic Patriotism as Feminist Critique of Empire: Helen Maria Williams, Sydney Owenson and Germaine de Staël

  • Caroline Franklin

Abstract

The rise of nationalism in republican France, and in Britain after the outbreak of war in 1793, rendered ‘feminism’ unpatriotic in both countries.1 In France, the Jacobin administration, after overthrowing the Girondins, excluded women from public affairs, and Marianne was replaced by Hercules as the symbol of the republic. Salonnières and female polemicists were silenced by the execution of Manon Roland and Olympe de Gouges. In Britain, Pitt’s Tory government mirrored the militarisation and masculinisation of political life across the channel. Hannah More became the preferred female role model: her formidable Evangelical energies channelled into loyalist voluntary associations supporting the armed forces and the militia; her publications combating the lower-class ‘enemy within’ through a mixture of religious quietism and jingoism; her public role conceded in return for her repeated insistence that most women were intellectually inferior to men and belonged in the home.

Keywords

French Revolution Feminist Critique Childbed Fever Woman Writer Sentimental Patriotism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 5.
    See Angela Keane, Women Writers and the English Nation in the 1790s (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), p. 16.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    Quoted by Philip Hicks, ‘Catharine Macaulay’s Civil War: Gender, History, and Republicanism in Georgian Britain’, Journal of British Studies, 41 (April, 2002), 170–98, 172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 7.
    D.O. Thomas (ed.), Richard Price: Political Writings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. 181.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    See Hugh Cunningham, ‘The Language of Patriotism ([0-9]+)–([0-9]+)’, History Workshop Journal 12 (1981), 8–33; Otto Dann and John Dinwiddy (eds), Nationalism in the Age of the French Revolution (London and Ronceverte: The Hambledon Press, 1988), p. 7; David Eastwood, ‘Patriotism and the English state in the 1790s’, in Mark Philp (ed.), The French Revolution and British Popular Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. ([0-9]+)–([0-9]+).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 9.
    See Evan Radcliffe, ‘Revolutionary Writing, Moral Philosophy, and Universal Benevolence in the Eighteenth Century’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 54:2 (Apr. 1993), 221–40, ([0-9]+)–([0-9]+).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 10.
    Janet Todd and Marilyn Butler (eds), The Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, 7 vols (London: Pickering and Chatto, 1989), 5, 66. Henceforth abbreviated to WMW.Google Scholar
  7. 21.
    M. Ray Adams, ‘Helen Maria Williams and the French Revolution’, in Earl Leslie Griggs (ed.), From Wordsworth and Coleridge: Studies in Honour of George McLean Harper (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1939), pp. 87–117, p. 111.Google Scholar
  8. 28.
    William John Fitzpatrick, Lady Morgan. Her Career, Literary and Personal etc, 2 vols (London: Charles J. Skeet, 1860), 1: 111.Google Scholar
  9. 30.
    See Katie Trumpener, Bardic Nationalism: The Romantic Novel and the British Empire (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997), pp. 128–60.Google Scholar
  10. 31.
    Sydney Owenson, Lady Morgan, The Wild Irish Girl: A National Tale, ed. Kathryn Fitzpatrick (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 14.Google Scholar
  11. 42.
    Ian Dennis, Nationalism and Desire in Early Historical Fiction (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997), p. 51. For the view that the novel is a seminal formulation of Irish patriotism in the Protestant tradition, incorporating research into Gaelic culture by Protestant antiquarians like Charlotte Brooke and Edward Bunting, see: Elmer Andrews, ‘Aesthetics, Politics and Identity: Lady Morgan’s The Wild Irish Girl’, Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, 13:2 (Dec. 1987), ([0-9])–([0-9])9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 43.
    See Ina Ferris, ‘Writing on the border: the national tale, female writing, and the public sphere’, in Tilottama Rajan and Julia M. Wright (eds), Romanticism, History and the Possibilities of Genre: Re-forming literature ([0-9]+)–([0-9]+) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 86–106, p. 86.Google Scholar
  13. 45.
    Joseph Lew, ‘Sydney Owenson and the Fate of Empire’, Keats-Shelley Journal, 39 (1990), 39–65.Google Scholar
  14. 58.
    See Ada Giusti, ‘The Politics of Location: Italian Narratives of Mme de Staël and Georges Sand’, Neohelicon, 22:2 (1995), 205–19, 207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 59.
    See Madelyn Gutwirth, ‘Woman as Mediatrix: from Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Germaine de Staël’, in Avriel H. Goldberger (ed.), Woman as Mediatrix: Essays on Nineteenth-Century Women Writers (New York: Greenwood Press, 1987), pp. 13–30.Google Scholar
  16. 60.
    Nira Yuval-Davis, Gender and Nation (London: Sage, 1997), p. 45.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Caroline Franklin 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caroline Franklin

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations