Special relationships: Anglo-American love affairs, courtships and marriages in fiction, 1821-1914

Woolf, Paul Jonathan (2007). Special relationships: Anglo-American love affairs, courtships and marriages in fiction, 1821-1914. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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Special Relationships examines depictions of love affairs, courtships and marriages between British and American characters in nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century American short stories and novels. I argue that these transatlantic love stories respond to shifting Anglo-American cultural, political, and economic exchanges during the period. In some cases, texts under consideration actually helped shape those interactions. I also suggest that many authors found such transnational encounters a useful way to define ideal versions of American national identity, and to endorse or challenge prevalent attitudes regarding class, race, and gender. Special Relationships begins with Cooper’s The Spy (1821), which I discuss in the Introduction. Part One examines works published by Cooper, Irving, Frances Trollope, Lippard, Warner, and Melville during the 1820s, 30s and 40s, and traces the emergence of the “fairytale” of the American woman who marries into English aristocracy. Part Two places works by Henry James, Burnett, and several other writers in the context of a real-life phenomenon: the plethora of American women who between 1870 and 1914 married into European nobility. I conclude by discussing the Anglo-American political rapprochement of the 1890s and the use by Jack London and Edgar Rice Burroughs of Anglo-American love stories to promote racial ‘Anglo-Saxonism.’

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Historical Studies
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
P Language and Literature > PS American literature
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/73


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