Performing Madam Britannia and the Blessing of Example

Emma Major

in Madam Britannia

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199699377
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738029 | DOI:
Performing Madam Britannia and the Blessing of Example

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)


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This chapter looks at some women who were claimed by their contemporaries as examples to the nation or as women who benefited the public. It begins with Elizabeth Burnet, who was involved in the religious revival following the Glorious Revolution. It then discusses the critic, patron, and hostess Elizabeth Montagu, arguing that she saw herself as part of a patriotic pantheon of women and enjoyed describing herself in relation to Elizabeth I, Amazons, businesswomen, farmers, coalminers, witches, Lady Bountiful, and other types of woman. Catherine Talbot was a patriotic and religious exemplar in a very different way: part of the household of a clergyman who became archbishop, she was closely involved in Church matters and wrote fascinating journals. The chapter concludes by discussing Talbot’s journals and her criticism of Samuel Richardson’s novel Sir Charles Grandison.

Keywords: Elizabeth Montagu; Catherine Talbot; Samuel Richardson; Elizabeth Burnet; exemplar; Elizabeth I; Amazons; public; politeness; enlightenment

Chapter.  16675 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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