Women Writing War and Empire: Gender, Poetry and Politics in Britain during the Napoleonic Wars

TitleWomen Writing War and Empire: Gender, Poetry and Politics in Britain during the Napoleonic Wars
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsRendall, Jane
EditorHagemann, Karen, Gisela Mettele, and Jane Rendall
Book TitleGender, War and Politics: Transatlantic Perspectives, 1775-1830
Pagination265–283
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
CityBasingstoke, UK; New York
Abstract

This chapter explores  patriotic and pacifist writings by British female authors published during the Napoleonic Wars. One example for a pacifist poem is Eighteen Hundred and Eleven by Anna Barbauld, published in 1812. Barbauld was then aged sixty-eight, a dissenter in religion, a pacifist and a much-published poet and educationalist. She wrote of Britain’s military engagement in the global ‘storm of war’ as part of the expansion of its empire and commerce. She did so in no triumphalist spirit but in meditation on the destructive effects of a war that brought with it famine, death and economic ruin to a once free and powerful nation. Published at the height of the Peninsular War, the poem evoked a hostility from critics that has become legendary. Most reviewers denounced it as unpatriotic and subversive, its criminality exacerbated by the sex of the writer and her technical accomplishment.

URLhttps://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1057/9780230283046_14
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903077709

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