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Women, Writing, and Revolution 1790–1827$
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Gary Kelly

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198122722

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198122722.001.0001

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Elizabeth Hamilton: Domestic Woman and National Reconstruction

Elizabeth Hamilton: Domestic Woman and National Reconstruction

(p.265) 8 Elizabeth Hamilton: Domestic Woman and National Reconstruction
Women, Writing, and Revolution 1790–1827

Gary Kelly

Oxford University Press

Helen Maria Williams and Mary Hays found their Sentimental and Revolutionary feminism increasingly under attack in the later 1790s and the Revolutionary aftermath, and had to turn to other ways of sustaining their social critiques. By contrast, Elizabeth Hamilton seemed well positioned to become a major post-Revolutionary critic of feminism. In fact, she moved closer to Revolutionary feminism after 1800, resisting the increasing remasculinization of culture and restriction of women to narrowly defined domesticity. Like a number of other women writers, she did so by following the lead of Hannah More's Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education, reconstructing domestic woman of the earlier conduct-book tradition for the post-Revolutionary crisis of ‘national’ unity and imperial defence. At the same time, she continued her work of feminizing ‘masculine’ discourses, aiming to intellectualize women's culture by popularizing, novelizing, and thereby disseminating philosophy, theology, and history, and doing so in a way that offered herself as a model for the new intellectual-domestic woman.

Keywords:   women writers, feminists, Revolutionary feminism, domestic woman

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