By Muireann O’Cinneide (auth.)
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Extra resources for Aristocratic Women and the Literary Nation, 1832–1867
The logical result of this economy of spectacle is to turn women’s bodies into forms of merchandise, commodities in this internal enclosed marketplace of high society. This commodification takes place most graphically through gambling, an enclosed form of exchange within high society which forces women to trade their bodies, like one character in the book, or have them traded, like Julia by her husband, in return for relief from debts. 76 The novel’s emphasis on spectacle shows particularly in its fascination with disguise.
It was only in the nineteenth century that the domestic memoir really attained recognition as an autobiographical form. 33 The domestic memoir’s upper-class origins in early models such as Lucy Hutchinson’s Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson ... To which is prefixed the life of Mrs Hutchinson, written by herself (written between around 1664 and 1670) gave precedents for combining the celebratory account of a male relative’s life with a woman’s own personal experiences. 34 Aristocratic women seem to have been less likely to lay claim to this potential.
3). Even apparently frivolous literature – especially apparently frivolous literature – can carry political weight, when sent into the right hands: ‘my Romances ... found their way into boudoirs and drawingrooms, where better and sterner Propaganda might have been rejected’ (6). Morgan channels Victorian ideals of the socially reformative possibilities of fiction into the shaping of upper-class convictions. The boudoirs and drawing-rooms of aristocratic social circles become the true enablers of mid-century moral and intellectual progress – exclusiveness that brings about overall inclusiveness, aristocratic leadership towards a national, even international, goal.
Aristocratic Women and the Literary Nation, 1832–1867 by Muireann O’Cinneide (auth.)