By Muireann O’Cinneide (auth.)
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Extra resources for Aristocratic Women and the Literary Nation, 1832–1867
Attacks on the silver fork novel combine critiques of aristocratic society with contentions that the writers are middle-class impostors who know nothing about the world they claim to portray. Hazlitt’s implication is that the genre’s dazzled revelling in such commodities as, well, silver forks, emerges from the lack of any acquaintance with them. Yet despite such attacks, the silver fork novel was by no means the sole preserve of authors lacking familiarity with such implements. The genre’s main publisher, Henry Colburn, had learned valuable lessons from his 1816 success with Glenarvon.
Knollys). 40 Bertie (née Kerr) constructs her husband’s heritage around images of Protestant warriors loyal to the Aristocratic Lives 33 nation (the Willoughbys had featured in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs), ironically given the Catholicism of some of her female connections. Yet her act of dutiful memorialising becomes a way for Georgina Bertie herself to lay an individual claim to this heritage that seems only to be hers through marriage. 41 Her foregrounding of the Willoughby motto (upholding virtue rather than victory) allows both the family and herself to appear as truly adapted to the moral spirit of 1840s England.
33 The domestic memoir’s upper-class origins in early models such as Lucy Hutchinson’s Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson ... To which is prefixed the life of Mrs Hutchinson, written by herself (written between around 1664 and 1670) gave precedents for combining the celebratory account of a male relative’s life with a woman’s own personal experiences. 34 Aristocratic women seem to have been less likely to lay claim to this potential. The biographical writing of aristocratic women instead sought a mode of authority that both upheld and challenged traditional concepts of power and influence rooted in patriarchal lineage and inherited property, by using such concepts as foundations of their privileged individual authority.