In the first book-length study of the well-respected and popular British writer Elizabeth Hamilton, Claire Grogan addresses a significant gap in scholarship that enlarges and complicates critical understanding of the Romantic woman writer. From 1797 to 1818, Hamilton published in a wide range of genres, including novels, satires, historical and educational treatises, and historical biography. Because she wrote from a politically centrist position during a revolutionary age, Grogan suggests, Hamilton has been neglected in favor of authors who fit within the Jacobin/anti-Jacobin framework used to situate women writers of the period. Grogan draws attention to the inadequacies of the Jacobin/anti-Jacobin binary for understanding writers like Hamilton, arguing that Hamilton and other women writers engaged with and debated the issues of the day in more veiled ways. For example, while Hamilton did not argue for sexual emancipation Ã la Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Hays, she asserted her rights in other ways. Hamilton's most radical advance, Grogan shows, was in her deployment of genre, whether she was mixing genres, creating new generic medleys, or assuming competence in a hitherto male-dominated genre. With Hamilton serving as her case study, Grogan persuasively argues for new strategies to uncover the means by which women writers participated in the revolutionary debate.
Claire Grogan is professor in the Department of English at Bishop's University, Canada.
'... a thoughtful, convincing and very welcome demonstration of the significant literary and political innovations that Hamilton was able to make in her four novels.' Scottish Literary Review '... well researched, well documented, and well argued. It will be useful alongside Grogan's Broadview editions for those interested in the period in a variety of ways and from different points of view ... The book is properly argumentative and provokes answers throughout.' Eighteenth-Century Scotland