Restricted Political Ability: How Nineteenth-Century British Women Novelists Worked to Influence Their Societies
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There is a pattern in nineteenth-century Britain that only exists within novels written by women. Throughout the century, the topical scopes women writers chose from grow smaller as the popularity of the novel increases. The topical scopes shrink from conversations encompassing Britain's international empire, to the effects of the Industrial Revolution on the working class, to the importance of morality in the home, each topic is approached by the authors with the same intent of including women in the overarching socio-political conversation of the day. This thesis seeks to fill in the nineteenth-century women's political perspective through a discussion of the works and writing styles by Frances Burney, Mary Shelley, the anonymous author of The Woman of Colour, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, Charlotte Brontë, and Charlotte Yonge. Their works are put in conversation with the politics surrounding their publication, and it is possible to see how they impacted their contemporary societies.