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    Patriots and Fribbles: Effeminacy and Politics in the Literature of the Seven Years’ War and its Aftermath, 1756-1774


    Kavanagh, Declan William (2012) Patriots and Fribbles: Effeminacy and Politics in the Literature of the Seven Years’ War and its Aftermath, 1756-1774. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Abstract

    This thesis examines British cultural anxieties surrounding effeminacy and foreignness in the literature of the Seven Years’ War and its aftermath, c. 1756-1772. Primarily, it is concerned with assessing how anxiety regarding effeminacy presents as a discourse of crisis within a diverse set of discrete, though densely worked debates, surrounding authorial independence, freedom of the press, the electorate’s right to free elections, and the aesthetic experience of the sublime. All of these debates shape emergent formulations of patriotism at mid-century. Chapter One considers how the conflation of xenophobia and effeminophobia operates as a rhetorical device in the poetry of the satirist Charles Churchill (1731-1764). Reading Churchill’s anti-Ossian poetry, I argue that the portrayal of the Highlander as heterosexually effeminate enables the articulation of patriotism as heteroerotic balance. Building on this, Chapter Two analyses the sexual and political controversies that mark the early career of the radical Whig politician John Wilkes (1725-1795). Taking one key narrative of Wilkite opposition, namely, the resistance in The North Briton to the excise on cider, Chapter Three shows how the defence of a gentleman’s property provokes debates about the nature of privacy and publicity that enfold into the fraught discourse on effeminacy. The second part of this chapter considers the successes and failures of two political essay-sheets, The Test and The Auditor, which were written by Arthur Murphy during the opening and closing stages of the Seven Years’ War. The final chapter reads the early political writings of Edmund Burke (1729- 1797) in the context of the fractious debates engendered by Wilkes’s attempts at re-entry to political life in the late 1760s. I argue that Burke’s understanding of the sublime offers an aesthetic response to effeminophobic and xenophobic anxieties, which has consequences for the longer history of British imperialism.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Patriots; Fribbles; Effeminacy; Politics; Literature; Seven Years’ War; 1756-1774;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > School of English, Media & Theatre Studies
    Item ID: 5671
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2015 17:31
    URI:

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