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British State RomanticismAuthorship, Agency, and Bureaucratic Nationalism$
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Anne Frey

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804762281

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804762281.001.0001

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A Nation Without Nationalism

A Nation Without Nationalism

The Reorganization of Feeling in Austen's Persuasion

(p.116) Four A Nation Without Nationalism
British State Romanticism
Stanford University Press

This chapter argues that Jane Austen's Persuasion demonstrates one rather paradoxical way in which women can become members of state professional organizations: by joining the profession of their husbands. Professions such as the navy also model for Austen a form of community and national identity that does not rely on notions of landed property or inheritance from one's forbearers. In contrast to the strategies depicted in much current historical work on British nationalism, Austen sharply differentiates an “English” identity, defined through landed inheritance, from a “British” identity, which promises to replace it and to better position individuals in ethical relationships to one another. For Austen this Britishness must be administered to the populace through administrative agencies exemplified by the navy and is felt only in a moment that restructures the Romantic sublime, when individuals become aware of the sacrifice which the nation demands from the professionals who serve it.

Keywords:   state professional organizations, national identity, navy, English identity

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