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"Study to be Quiet": Hannah More and the Invention of Conservative Culture in Britain

Gilmartin, Kevin (2003) "Study to be Quiet": Hannah More and the Invention of Conservative Culture in Britain. ELH: English Literary History, 70 (2). pp. 493-540. ISSN 0013-8304. doi:10.1353/elh.2003.0015.

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Although not as widely known and anthologized as Village Politics, Hannah More’s 1795 History Of Tom White the Postilion and its sequel, The Way to Plenty, are in many respects more typical of the kind of writing through which her Cheap Repository Tracts (1795– 1798) achieved a leading role in the antiradical and antirevolutionary campaigns of the 1790s. For this reason, Tom White can provide a useful preliminary map of More’s reactionary fiction, and of the challenge it presents to our understanding of the literary history of Romantic-period Britain, particularly the impact that reactionary movements had upon cultural politics in an age of revolution. The Tom White series is typical, to begin with, in its heterogeneous narrative form (the dialogue of Village Politics is less characteristic of More’s work), and in the pressure it brings to bear upon the social world More believed her readers inhabited. Like many of the Cheap Repository Tracts, Tom White serves up a moral parable that rests, in the first instance, upon a precisely situated sense of rural virtue.

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Additional Information:© 2003 by The Johns Hopkins University Press. Early versions of this paper were presented to the UCLA Romantic Studies Group, the Washington Area Romantics Group, and the Nineteenth-Century Studies Workshop at the University of Chicago. I am grateful to the participants in all these groups for their helpful criticism and commentary, especially James Chandler, Elaine Hadley, Orrin Wang, Neil Fraistat, John Morillo, Jerome Christenson, and Anne Mellor.
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Deposited On:21 Mar 2014 16:55
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