Feeling British: Sympathy and National Identity in Scottish and English Writing 1707-1832

Feeling British: Sympathy and National Identity in Scottish and English Writing 1707-1832

by Evan Gottlieb
     
 

Feeling British argues that the discourse of sympathy both encourages and problematizes a sense of shared national identity in eighteenth-century and Romantic British literature and culture. Although the 1707 Act of Union officially joined England and Scotland, government policy alone could not overcome centuries of feuding and ill will between these nations.

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Overview

Feeling British argues that the discourse of sympathy both encourages and problematizes a sense of shared national identity in eighteenth-century and Romantic British literature and culture. Although the 1707 Act of Union officially joined England and Scotland, government policy alone could not overcome centuries of feuding and ill will between these nations. Accordingly, the literary public sphere became a vital arena for the development and promotion of a new national identity: Britishness. The book starts by examining the political implications of the Scottish Enlightenment's theorization of sympathy, the mechanism by which emotions are shared between people. From these philosophical beginnings, this study tracks how sympathetic discourse is deployed by a variety of authors - including Defoe, Smollett, Johnson, Wordsworth, and Scott - invested in constructing, but also in questioning, an inclusive sense of what it means to be British.

Editorial Reviews

Simon Fraser University, Eighteenth-Century Scotland, Spring 2008, n. 22 - Leith Davis
"Evan Gottlieb's Feeling British is a rewarding read. Rich in detail, acute in its analyses and theoretically informed without being weighed down by its critical apparatus, Feeling British offers a valuable contribution both to Scottish studies and to the larger field of British literature. While a number of previous critics have linked the interest in sympathy and society found in David Hume, Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson, and other Enlightenment thinkers to the peculiar position of Scotland after the Union and the Jacobite rebellions, Gottlieb both extends their perspective and revises it by focusing on the ideological complications found in the writings of these philosophers and in the literary works which are partially informed by their writing."
University Of Strathclyde, Journal of British Studies, 47:4, October 2008 - Richard J. Finlay
"Indeed, recent cultural and historical explorations of Englishness regularly conflate the terms 'England' and 'Britain.' So hats off to Evan Gottlieb for his study, which examines the way that Britishness (in the sense of its Anglo-Scottish dimension) was constructed in the eighteenth century."
University Of Georgia, New Perspectives on the Eighteenth Century, 6.1, Spring 2009 - John A. Vance
"...Feeling British is an excellent work of criticism and scholarship—a most readable book with a full and concentrated argument that appeals to broad interests in the eighteenth century. To be sure, Evan Gottlieb has given us a very fine addition to the recent studies devoted to the 'long eighteenth century.'"

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781611482805
Publisher:
Bucknell University Press
Publication date:
05/01/2007
Series:
Bucknell Studies in Eighteenth Century Literature and Culture Series
Pages:
274
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Evan Gottlieb is assistant professor in the Department of English at Oregon State University.

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