Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

English

Major Professor

Laura Runge, Ph. D.

Keywords

18th century, Britain, History, Religion, Women

Abstract

This thesis contributes to continuing assessments of women writers and their political activities during the long eighteenth century. Analyzing works by Aphra Behn, Hannah More, and Anna Letitia Barbauld, I assert that these writers projected their voices into public affairs, and I explore their treatment of poetic forms. Through writing, they claimed equality with fellow authors and participated as equals beside the period's political leaders, debating about and commenting upon a wide array of concerns like the Glorious Revolution, the abolition of the slave trade, British military expansion, and religious and political liberties. This thesis argues that Behn, More, and Barbauld spoke as muses for the minority causes of their historical moment; their political-poetic participation further blurs the distinction between once held perceptions of the Habermasian public sphere.

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