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Sacred Unions

Title: Sacred Unions: Catharine Sedgwick, Maria Edgeworth, and Domestic-Political Fiction.
Name(s): Elmore, Jenifer Lynn, author
Moore, Dennis, professor directing dissertation
Hadden, Sally, outside committee member
Walker, Eric, committee member
Burke, Helen, committee member
Haywood, Chanta, committee member
Stern, Julia, committee member
Department of English, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2002
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Since the 1980s, literary scholars in the U.K., Ireland, and the U.S. have recovered the contributions of the nineteenth-century American writer Catharine Maria Sedgwick and her older Anglo-Irish contemporary Maria Edgeworth, establishing both as groundbreaking contributors to their respective national literatures. This dissertation casts new light on both authors by examining their private writings to reconstruct their actual historical relationship to one another and by interpreting their published works in a transatlantic and post-colonial context. Reading their works side by side reveals that both authors were preoccupied with modeling Union—the harmonious union of qualities within the individual, of husbands and wives, of disparate groups within larger societies, and, most importantly, of member states within larger political nations, such as Edgeworth's United Kingdom of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and Sedgwick's young United States of America. Though Sedgwick and Edgeworth lived an ocean apart and never met in person, their literary celebrity and shared literary project connected them. Throughout her career, Sedgwick's readers and critics compared her style, her subject matter, her literary and social mission, and indeed the totality of her literary persona to that of Edgeworth. The dedication of Sedgwick's first novel, A New-England Tale (1822), is an encomium to Edgeworth that establishes how much the novice American admired this mature writer who had already achieved enormous transatlantic literary stature. Edgeworth's response to that dedication initiated an occasional correspondence between the two women, and Sedgwick continued to inscribe her fiction with intertextual references to Edgeworth. Important points of intersection between Sedgwick's and Edgeworth's oeuvres include their literary treatments of women and their writings about women writers, their pioneering literary regionalism, their fictional representations of socioeconomic and ethnic others, and their use of allegory to infuse domestic fictions with national political significance. Both writers employ various narrative strategies in presenting the many aspects of their social and political philosophies to the public in a fictional and often coded form that this dissertation theorizes as the sub-genre of domestic-political fiction. This sub-genre was the means through which both authors modeled their ideals of perfect Union.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-0568 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of English in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Degree Awarded: Fall Semester, 2002.
Date of Defense: Date of Defense: November 8, 2002.
Keywords: Maria Edgeworth, Political Fiction, Catherine Sedgewick
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory committee: Dennis Moore, Professor Directing Dissertation; Sally Hadden, Outside Committee Member; Eric Walker, Committee Member; Helen Burke, Committee Member; Chanta Haywood, Committee Member; Julia Stern, Committee Member.
Subject(s): English literature
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Elmore, J. L. (2002). Sacred Unions: Catharine Sedgwick, Maria Edgeworth, and Domestic-Political Fiction. Retrieved from