Maternity, Self-Representation, And Social Critique In Nineteenth-Century Working-Class Scottish Women's Poetry.

Overview

This dissertation studies self-representation, maternity, and social critique in the work of nineteenth-century working-class Scottish women poets. I focus on books of poetry by Janet Little (1759-1792), Christian Milne (1773-1820?), Susanna Hawkins (1787-?), and Janet Hamilton (1795-1873), while also contextualizing each poet's work in relationship to the publications of other working-class British women poets of the nineteenth century. In the first chapter in this study, "Janet Little and Working-Class ...
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Overview

This dissertation studies self-representation, maternity, and social critique in the work of nineteenth-century working-class Scottish women poets. I focus on books of poetry by Janet Little (1759-1792), Christian Milne (1773-1820?), Susanna Hawkins (1787-?), and Janet Hamilton (1795-1873), while also contextualizing each poet's work in relationship to the publications of other working-class British women poets of the nineteenth century. In the first chapter in this study, "Janet Little and Working-Class Publication: Setting the Stage," I argue that the content and publication history of Janet Little's The Poetical Works of Janet Little, The Scotch Milkmaid (1792) sets the stage for the study of nineteenth-century Scottish working-class women's poetry. Little frequently represents her self in relationship to Robert Burns and negotiates her gender and class identities. Little's representation of maternal sympathy includes a poem which expresses concern and hypothetical guardianship for an aristocratic child patron. Little also critiques pressures of courtship and marriage in her insightful portrayals of upper-class young women. I propose that Little's critique of class and gender constraints affirms her authority as an observer of upper-class women's concerns in addition to her insight into working-class women's struggles, as revealed through her Burns poems. In Chapter Two, "The Artless Muse: The Poetry of Christian Milne," I argue that Milne's single published book of poetry, Simple Poems on Simple Subjects, includes "strategic affirmation" in Milne's complex, often contradictory portrayals of self, maternity, and social critique. Milne's poems frequently address patrons, critics, and potential supporters in the middle- and upper classes. Milne's shifting tone reveals her complex relationships to her class superiors and her strategic approach in addressing each of them. One significant event which emphasizes the different eras of Little's and Milne's publications is Burns's death. Little addresses Burns as a living contemporary, whom she briefly met, greatly admires, and with whom she shares a patron. Milne addresses the "shade" of Burns after his death, which allows Milne freedom to critique his behavior and poetry. In Chapter three, "'Nature stood still': The Poetry of Susannah Hawkins," I argue that Hawkins's personifications of moral binaries and brief sketches of maternal sympathy and self-representation reflect the significance of her precarious class and gender position and the volatile cultural moment during which her volume was published. Hawkins writes poems of concern for middle- and upper-class ladies and gentlemen, and in one poem, "Lines on a Gentleman's Son," she expresses concern for an upper-class child. This likely provided her nineteenth-century readers with evidence of Hawkins's potential maternal sympathy although she was not a mother, reassuring her readers of her gender-appropriate concerns. Hawkins's poems vacillate between strategic descriptions of moral abstractions in rural scenes and her concern for various members of the royal family and several other ladies and gentlemen. In Chapter Four, "'Where there's a will there is ever a way!': The Poetry of Janet Hamilton," I argue that Hamilton's multiple volumes include a significant range of political and personal concerns and publication histories crucial to our understanding of working class women's poetry. Many of Hamilton's poems and essays vehemently condemn the effects of alcohol and advocate temperance. In addition to temperance, Hamilton also portrays the hardships of her physical labor as a tambourer (embroiderer) in "A Lay of the Tambour Frame,"...
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243573698
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/3/2011
  • Pages: 48
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.10 (d)

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