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

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Bucknell University Press, 2007 - 274 pages
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. Feeling British starts by examining the political implications of the Scottish Enlightenment's theorizations 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.
 

Contents

That Propensity We Have Sympathy National Identity and the Scottish Enlightenment
26
Fools of Prejudice Smollett and the Novelization of National Identity
61
We Are Now One People Boswell Johnson and the Renegotiation of AngloScottish Relations
99
Harp of the North Romantic Poetry and the Sympathetic Uses of Scotland
134
To be at once another and the same Scotts Waverley Novels and the Ends of Sympathetic Britishness
170
Imperfect Sympathies and the Devolution of Britishness
208
Notes
214
Bibliography
250
Index
268
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About the author (2007)

Evan Gottlieb is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Oregon State University, where he teaches courses on eighteenth-century and Romantic British literature, and literary and critical theory.

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