Date of Award

8-1-2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

English

First Advisor

Chandler, Anne

Abstract

Despite the recognized importance of Anna Letitia Barbauld, Maria Edgeworth, and Charlotte Smith as commentators on 1790s radicalism, pedagogy, and novel conventions, their writings for children and for adults tend to be studied separately. Indeed, despite each writer's familiarity with the others' work, these figures are rarely discussed together. I argue that studying these authors' cross-generic works using a comparative approach reveals the ways in which novels and children's books have informed and influenced each other, both in their reciprocal developments and as distinct genres. I further argue that even as the juvenile fiction of Barbauld, Edgeworth, and Smith seems rather tamely oriented toward the integration of natural history with conduct lessons, the genre was in fact a vital means by which each writer weighed her own social-welfare and aesthetic priorities within contexts of political upheaval.

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