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Reinventing LibertyNation, Commerce and the Historical Novel from Walpole to Scott$
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Fiona Price

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474402965

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474402965.001.0001

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Uneasy Alliances: Liberty and the Nation

Uneasy Alliances: Liberty and the Nation

(p.99) Chapter 3 Uneasy Alliances: Liberty and the Nation
Reinventing Liberty

Fiona Price

Edinburgh University Press

In imagining the safe politicisation of the ‘mass’ in commercial modernity, the idea of the nation as a focus for enthusiasm is key. Yet in the British context the nation itself was a troubled concept. Hence, as Chapter 3 explores, historical novelists drew upon the comparative potential of stadial history, trying to reimagine British liberty in relation to the competing nationalisms of the sister kingdoms and the empire. As novelists like Henry Siddons, Anna Maria Mackenzie, James White, Anna Millikin, Ellis Cornelia Knight, Maria Edgeworth and Jane Porter realised, such competing nationalisms would have to be carefully balanced, shaped by new historical narratives, if national feeling were not to be as threatening to the emergent state as class identity. As such, the historical novel is an important forerunner to the national tales of Sydney Owenson and Maria Edgeworth.

Keywords:   Scotland, Ireland, Nation, Empire, National tale, Sydney Owenson, Maria Edgeworth

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