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"Liberty joined with Peace and Charity": Elizabeth Inchbald and a woman’s place in the revolution

"Liberty joined with Peace and Charity": Elizabeth Inchbald and a woman’s place in the revolution
"Liberty joined with Peace and Charity": Elizabeth Inchbald and a woman’s place in the revolution
While the French Revolution was one of the defining events of the eighteenth century, it is conspicuously absent from female-authored plays of the time. By the 1790s, women had been using the drama genre to write insightful commentary on other political issues for some time, but writing about the Revolution was accompanied by particular challenges in the form of censorship and increased concerns about sedition.
Elizabeth Inchbald’s 1792 drama The Massacre represents an exception to the stage’s general reticence on the topic. While the play was not staged and the Revolution never named as explicit inspiration for the plot, Inchbald provides a detailed and moving account of the Revolution. This article analyses her perspective on the role and potential of female morality as a means for political change, focussing on the significance of Inchbald’s inclusion of Madame Tricastin as a tragic martyr figure who condemns the Revolution’s descent into violence. It also contextualises the unique place that both the Revolution and this particular play occupy in Inchbald’s writing career.
Eighteenth-century Drama, Inchbald, French Revolution, women writers, Mary Wollstonecraft, Politics
2517-7850
57-77
Lippold, Eva
ac941fb7-0989-47e7-aad9-1201f66dd7f6
Lippold, Eva
ac941fb7-0989-47e7-aad9-1201f66dd7f6

Lippold, Eva (2021) "Liberty joined with Peace and Charity": Elizabeth Inchbald and a woman’s place in the revolution. Romance, Revolution and Reform, (3), 57-77, [4].

Record type: Article

Abstract

While the French Revolution was one of the defining events of the eighteenth century, it is conspicuously absent from female-authored plays of the time. By the 1790s, women had been using the drama genre to write insightful commentary on other political issues for some time, but writing about the Revolution was accompanied by particular challenges in the form of censorship and increased concerns about sedition.
Elizabeth Inchbald’s 1792 drama The Massacre represents an exception to the stage’s general reticence on the topic. While the play was not staged and the Revolution never named as explicit inspiration for the plot, Inchbald provides a detailed and moving account of the Revolution. This article analyses her perspective on the role and potential of female morality as a means for political change, focussing on the significance of Inchbald’s inclusion of Madame Tricastin as a tragic martyr figure who condemns the Revolution’s descent into violence. It also contextualises the unique place that both the Revolution and this particular play occupy in Inchbald’s writing career.

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More information

Published date: 14 January 2021
Keywords: Eighteenth-century Drama, Inchbald, French Revolution, women writers, Mary Wollstonecraft, Politics

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 446560
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/446560
ISSN: 2517-7850
PURE UUID: 35b9cd45-8a12-4d99-b220-fc47900d201b

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 15 Feb 2021 17:31
Last modified: 15 Feb 2021 17:34

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Contributors

Author: Eva Lippold

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