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Madam BritanniaWomen, Church, and Nation 1712-1812$
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Emma Major

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199699377

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199699377.001.0001

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The Contrast II: Bruising the Serpent’s Head, the Little Sister, and Christian Professions

The Contrast II: Bruising the Serpent’s Head, the Little Sister, and Christian Professions

Chapter:
(p.271) 8 The Contrast II: Bruising the Serpent’s Head, the Little Sister, and Christian Professions
Source:
Madam Britannia
Author(s):

Emma Major

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199699377.003.0009

This chapter looks at the period 1790–1811. It argues that the French Revolution and subsequent wars with France created a sense of national emergency that caused writers such as Hannah More, Sarah Trimmer, Jane West, Henrietta Maria Bowdler, and Anna Laetitia Barbauld to try to defend their nation and religion by venturing into traditionally male areas of theology and politics. These years marked a turn in popular opinion against women’s involvement in politics and print culture, so the women I discuss were trying to fulfil what they understood to be their ‘Christian profession’ at a time when the extent of female activity was being curtailed. (This is evident in the very proper Britannias who appear during these years contrasted with a Medusa-haired, rampaging French Liberty.) The writers I discuss negotiated the constraints of propriety by being published anonymously, pseudonymously, or posthumously.

Keywords:   dissent, sermons, women priests, serpents, Hannah More, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Henrietta Maria Bowdler, Sarah Trimmer, Napoleon, Britannia

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