Land and dynastic subjectivity: the public spheres of Mary Ann Gilbert <sup>1</sup>

Kathryn Gleadle

in Borderline Citizens

Published by British Academy

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780197264492
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734274 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Monographs

Land and dynastic subjectivity: the public spheres of Mary Ann Gilbert 1

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter considers the public career of Mary Ann Gilbert (1776–1845), a landed proprietor in Eastbourne in East Sussex where she established herself as a leading agricultural expert and poor law reformer. Her activities had a substantial impact on local parochial politics and her work was cited and discussed in parliamentary reports and government commissions. Gilbert personifies the overlapping themes of landownership, local influence, and personal authority. Her ability to construct herself as a female expert through cultural confidence and specialized knowledge, her employment of the varying modes of epistolary exchange, her use of ephemeral print culture, and her relationship with parochial government all emerge as particularly important themes. This chapter examines the salience of dynastic subjectivity as well as Gilbert's public spheres, her marriage, and her role in agricultural reform and the allotment movement during her time.

Keywords: Mary Ann Gilbert; poor law; parochial politics; landownership; local influence; personal authority; dynastic subjectivity; public spheres; agricultural reform; allotment movement

Chapter.  14567 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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