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Gothic Romance

British Women Writers and the Profession of Literary by M. Waters

By M. Waters

This booklet examines expert literary feedback by way of Romantic-era British girls to bare that, whereas constructing a unsleeping professionalism, girls literary critics helped to form the classy types that outlined Romantic literary values and made the British literary historical past a resource of nationwide satisfaction. ladies critics understood the contested nature of aesthetics and the general public implications of aesthetic values on questions comparable to morality, either private and non-private, the nation's cultural background, even the basic traits of Britishness itself.

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Before Addison’s papers, Milton’s own character, particularly his political sentiments, restricted his poem’s appeal, but more importantly, qualities of the poem itself, including several that now cause it to rank among the greatest in the language, made it foreign to the English reading public. In Barbauld’s account, Addison’s Milton commentary constitutes an act of literary patriotism that is as much a democratic as a nationalistic one. 31 Though Addison, educated at Oxford, became a noted classical scholar, Barbauld downplays the contribution of a background denied to Dissenters, women, and the The British Common Reader: Critical Prefaces by Anna Letitia Barbauld 45 middle class.

Her reviewing practice is grounded in the culture of Rational Dissent and in support from and collaboration with members of her immediate family. Consequently, it sheds new light on the culture of the literary review. 53 Like Barbauld’s, Moody’s work at the Monthly depended on the Dissenting community. Only after her marriage to a middle-class Dissenter did Moody leave behind the dilettante amateurism and coterie circulation of the eighteenth-century upper class in favor of collaboration and professional publication.

Though a middle-class woman Dissenter, she not only received an unusually rigorous home education from her parents, but profited as well from the family’s proximity to the Dissenters’ academy where her father, John Aikin, a respected classicist and theologian, taught. As a result, her scholastic attainments would have been worthy of respect even among university men. Her writing, which included poetry, devotional and educational literature, and even political pamphlets, reflected this background, and she had worked for many years as an educator herself.

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