Haunting History: Women, Catholicism, and the Writing of National History in Sophia Lee's 'The Recess'

KRAMER, Kaley (2014). Haunting History: Women, Catholicism, and the Writing of National History in Sophia Lee's 'The Recess'. In: CHAPPELL, Julie and KRAMER, Kaley, (eds.) Women during the English Reformations: negotiating gender and religious identity. New York, Palgrave, 129-144.

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Official URL: https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9781137474735#abo...
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137465672

Abstract

This chapter explores strategies of re-writing British history in The Recess, with particular attention to the ways in which hagiography and historiography shape responses to the nation’s past. The assumption of Catholicism as Britain’s foreign ‘other’ ignores the experiences of British Catholics and the tenacity of history and tradition that does not necessarily obey political or legislative edicts. Lee’s adaptation of British history for the purposes of her late eighteenth-century audience is apparent in some respects and subtle in others. Catholicism is explicitly condemned but is not expelled from the narrative; it enables particular discourses associated with haunting and spectrality that the ‘Age of Reasons’ sought to distance. Linked with primitivism, superstition, and political tyranny, Catholicism represents antithesis of the kind of individual and collective freedom that increasingly defined the desired ‘Britain’. The Recess returns to the site of Protestant Britain’s mythological origin and produces possible strategies of mourning and remembering, linking together Britain’s abandoned Catholic heritage and women’s experiences of cultural abandonment with hagiographic and historiographic strategies of narrating national history.

Item Type: Book Section
Departments: Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities > Humanities
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137465672
Depositing User: Kaley Kramer
Date Deposited: 16 May 2018 09:25
Last Modified: 16 May 2018 17:49
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/21118

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