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"Boulogne-sur-Mer, of all places in the world!": France in the works of Ellen Wood

Abstract : Mrs Henry Wood is frequently cast as impeccably English, yet she spent 20 years of her life (1836-56) living in France, unusually in the period preceding the beginning of her literary career. This article sets out the known biographical details of Wood's French sojourn, before analysing the place of France and the French in a selection of her work, comprising the handful of France-related stories she published in two London magazines between 1851 and 1856, and two subsequent novels set partly in France: East Lynne (1861) and the lesser-known Oswald Cray (1864). It is argued that though her experience of France ought to presage a sympathetic or at least a nuanced portrayal, the country remains a threatening place in her fiction, peopled with bankrupts, invalids, quacks, criminals and Catholics, whose actions serve as a counterpoint to the norms of the English social spheres she constructs. In conclusion, Wood's fundamental Englishness as a writer is found to be valid; on a biographical level, this tempers her biographer and son's positive assessment of her relations with France and the French.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00684885
Contributeur : Matthew Pires Connectez-vous pour contacter le contributeur
Soumis le : lundi 21 mars 2022 - 17:38:21
Dernière modification le : vendredi 25 mars 2022 - 18:56:24

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Matthew Pires. "Boulogne-sur-Mer, of all places in the world!": France in the works of Ellen Wood. Women's Writing, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2008, Ellen (Mrs Henry) Wood, 15 (2), pp.169-186. ⟨10.1080/09699080802173723⟩. ⟨halshs-00684885⟩

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