By Muireann O’Cinneide (auth.)
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Additional info for Aristocratic Women and the Literary Nation, 1832–1867
Bury’s middle-class readership could therefore enjoy both royal gossip and pleasurable condemnation of the upper classes, while Bury herself could reap the financial benefits of her revelations of royalty, but had to pay a price in terms of her moral standing among her readers and her social standing among her peers. Autobiographical fiction – the roman à clef This final section draws upon a comparison that Mandler uses to epitomise the changing nature of aristocratic women’s public voices from the late eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries.
81 Fullerton’s Ellen Middleton, like her aunt’s Glenarvon, is a novel about passion. Yet passion here is about anger and hate rather than love and desire, an essentially destructive emotion with no redeeming glamorous qualities. When the young Ellen Middleton strikes her tiresome little cousin in a moment of jealousy and so causes her death, she reveals the dangers of unbounded emotions. Despite the lack of any (known) autobiographical element to the main story, Ellen Middleton is the work of all these three women most absorbed with questions of autobiography, selfhood and expression.
34 Aristocratic Women and the Literary Nation Mary Cotton, Viscountess Combermere, takes on the most intimate and autobiographical task of the three, since her memoir centres on her own husband. Yet hers is also the most publicly charged task, given the military prominence of the Viscount. 44 Combermere and Knollys (who do not distinguish their respective inputs in the text) comment upon the Viscount’s marital and martial virtues with similar impersonality, thus giving his ‘private’ qualities a seemingly objective weighting.