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Edgeworth, Owenson, and the masculine border

Miller, Meredith ORCID: 2021. Edgeworth, Owenson, and the masculine border. Women's Writing 28 (2) , pp. 192-211. 10.1080/09699082.2021.1879443

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This paper examines the writing of Irish national character in terms of various contemporary and contested modes of constructing masculinity in Sydney Owenson’s O’Donnel (1814) and Maria Edgeworth’s Ormond (1817). Antiquarian, chivalric, modern, cosmopolitan, reasoned, sentimental, and romanticist vectors of masculinity are examined as ideological constructions fundamentally related to various generic and formal structures deployed in each novel. The article argues ultimately that the relative invisibility of O’Donnel in the canon of the English-language novel is related to its construction of a particular type of masculinity embedded in a pointed and conscious generic promiscuity. By contrast, Edgeworth’s reception is related from the outset to both her construction of a unified realism and a very particular masculine national type, as Englishness. In conclusion, the article notes an instance of contemporary (1816) concern with working-class feminine readership as evidence of an understanding that the politics of gender and representation in the novel have real-world social effects.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge): SSH Titles
ISSN: 0969-9082
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 April 2021
Date of Acceptance: 29 April 2020
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 01:45

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