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Refusing to go quietly :


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Refusing to go quietly : female wit as combating a culture of silence in frances burney and elizabeth inchbald's texts
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Weber, Megan
University of South Florida
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Subjects / Keywords:
Marriage contract
Women's language
Female agency
Dissertations, Academic -- English -- Masters -- USF   ( lcsh )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


ABSTRACT: In the hands of two prominent authors, Elizabeth Inchbald and Frances Burney, a critical paradox concerning female silence arises: while both authors operate very successfully in the publishing world, both do so while subverting impositions of silence, exhibiting a clear breach of propriety. An examination of Inchbald's novel A Simple Story and play Wives as they Were, Maids as they Are and Burney's novel Cecilia and play The Witlings, elucidates how each author adapts literary genres to portray female wit, exposing eighteenth-century impositions of silence in the process. By engendering female characters with the ability to employ humor as young women, Burney and Inchbald develop characters with agency and articulation.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2010.
Includes bibliographical references.
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by Megan Weber.
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Refusing to go quietly :
b female wit as combating a culture of silence in frances burney and elizabeth inchbald's texts
h [electronic resource] /
by Megan Weber.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains X pages.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2010.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
3 520
ABSTRACT: In the hands of two prominent authors, Elizabeth Inchbald and Frances Burney, a critical paradox concerning female silence arises: while both authors operate very successfully in the publishing world, both do so while subverting impositions of silence, exhibiting a clear breach of propriety. An examination of Inchbald's novel A Simple Story and play Wives as they Were, Maids as they Are and Burney's novel Cecilia and play The Witlings, elucidates how each author adapts literary genres to portray female wit, exposing eighteenth-century impositions of silence in the process. By engendering female characters with the ability to employ humor as young women, Burney and Inchbald develop characters with agency and articulation.
Advisor: Laura Runge, Ph.D.
Marriage contract
Women's language
Female agency
Dissertations, Academic
x English
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
4 856


Refusing To Go Silently: Female Wit As Combating A Culture Of Silence In Frances Burney And Elizabeth Inchbald's Texts by Megan M. Weber A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of English College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Laura Runge Ph.D. Regina Hewitt, Ph.D. Cynthia Richards, Ph.D. Date of Approval: April 16, 2010 Keywords: wit, patriarchy, marriage contract, women's language, female agency Copyright 2010 Megan M. Weber


Acknowledgments I am sincerely grateful to Dr. Laura Runge for her continual support and unfailing aid in composing my thesis. Dr. Regina Hewitt and Dr. Cynthia Richards have helped immensely, providing invaluable feedback and fresh perspectives. I am forever grateful to Jessica McKee and Taylor Mitchell for their proofing and formatting help.


i Table of Contents Abstract ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... ii Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 1 Chapter One Playing Upon Silence: The Witlings ........................ 9 Chapter Two: She is Spoken For: Cecilia ............................ 20 Chapter Three: Sweet Nothings: A Simple Story ............................ 38 Chapter Four: Confined Language: Wives as They Were, Maids as They Are ................................ .............................. 63 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 81 Works Cited ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 88 Works Consulted ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 92 E n d n o t e s ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 9 3


ii Refusing to Go Silently: Female Wit as Combating a Culture of Silence in Frances Megan M. Weber ABSTRACT In the hands of two promi nent authors, Elizabeth Inchbald and Frances Burney, a critical paradox concerning female silence arises: w hile both authors operate very successfully in the publishing world, both do so while subvert ing impositions of silence, exhibiting a clear breach of A Simple Story and play Wives as they Were, Maids as they Are Cecilia and play The Witlings elucidates how each author adapts literary genres to portray female wit, exposing eighteenth cent ury impositions of silence in the process. By engendering female characters with the ability to employ humor as young women, Burney and Inchbald develop characters with agency and articulation.


1 Introduction Beginning in the Restoration and continuing throughout the eighteenth century, traditional depictions of romance and femininity undergo a dramatic shift. By the end of the eighteenth century, female writers such as Frances Burney and Elizabeth Inchbald follow the tradition established by Aphra Behn of reappropriating the romance tradition to subvert the imposition of patriarchal ideologies allows a more thorou gh examination of how completely Burney and Inchbald reinscribe male depictions of romance through a female pen. In Medieval literature, the romance tradition served to solidify androcentric s hand, presented masculinity as redemptive and powerful. Femininity in turn became subservient, powerful only in its ability to inspire men. T he English Restoration in 1660 witnessed on of traditional romance tropes (Brown 27). By publishing Oroonoko 1688, Behn utilizes the unrest and disorder of the period; a ccording to Laura Brown, Oroonoko var Holmesland


2 Behn works to rewrite several social conventions, including assumed male authority that accompanied the romance tradition. Perhaps the most important reworking of the romance tradition witnessed in the transformation of silence between lovers. The romantic convention for silence stems from the medieval concept her study of sexuality in fairy tales, Christy William sexual desire is there, but it is not mentioned in the text. The king cannot value the of employing the silent damsel in distres s trope, Behn offers a heroine capable of expressing her resentment. communication between the two main characters Oroonoko and Imoinda occurs non verbally. Working from a position of alterity, Beh romantic tradition that lovers can speak with their eyes but their communication occurs outside prescribed boundaries : But as soon as the king was busied in looking on some fine thing of time to tell the prince with her angry, but love darting eyes, that she resented his coldness, and bemoaned her own miserable captivity. Nor were his eyes silent, but answered hers again, as much as eyes could do, instructed by the most tender, and most p assionate


3 thoughts of their souls to each other. (Behn 88) unicate without words. Behn reworks romantic convention s of silence by keeping her heroine silent while still able to communicate non verbally. An i mmensely popular text agency i demonstrated by Imoinda becomes libratory, if high ly criticized. Communication is possible in silence, giving power to women without breaking codes of feminine silence. The backlash against Behn during the second half of the eighteenth century suggests that expectations of female silence became far more stringent, extending beyond fictional portrayals of women to socially codified behavior. In her study of conduct books management of female value, the conduct book implies ness in the eighteenth century. Social expectations and female education prescribe silen ce as a means of obtaining a husband and conforming to social decorum. Conduct book culture proliferates in the eighteenth century, providing a means of education for women. Conduct books directly work to reverse the agency afforded women by Behn and her c ontemporaries; conduct books inform women of decorum and androcentric views of proper femininity, working to


4 One of the most popular conduct books of the late eighteenth century was James Sermons to Young Women a book intimately known by Frances Burney. ii Letters to His Daughters who This modesty, which I think so essential in your sex, will naturally dispose you to be rather silent in company, especially in a large one. People of sense and discernment proleptically negates ar guments silence is the indicator of learning and social position. Women are then meant to express their intellectual depth and cultural prowess without saying a word, merely standin g in polite society and nodding when appropriate. Instances of silence proliferate throughout the long eighteenth century, eventually becoming a trope representative of proper femininity. While posits century the connection between silence and portrayals of romance undergo a major shift. c The Witlings to her novel Cecelia A Simple Story to her play Wives as They Were, Maids as They Are prevention of communication. Whereas Oroono Romance and its place in marriage culture comes under a distinct critique from both


5 authors, who em ploy the silence trope to expose impositions of patriarchal iii hegemony on women. Through their manipulations of and understandings of silence, Burney and Inchbald engender characters who begin as witty, social women; however, after entering the marriage mar ket, the women become silent, continually acted upon by the men in their lives. The occasions of female silence become increasingly dangerous as the eighteenth century progresses as evidenced in the following examinations Silence comes to stand for verba l non communication, marking a distinction between late seventeenth and late eighteenth century depictions of romance. Through examining illuminate both why the shift i n silence occurs and how the shift manifests in fictional writing of the late eighteenth century. A critical paradox concerning female silence arises in the works of Burney and Inchbald. Both authors operate successfully, critically and financially, in t he publishing world, but both do so while subverting expectations of female silence. Ellen Donkin examines the female role in a male dominated profession, arguing that eighteenth century rules of conduct in the play and the novel respectively. Both Burney and Inchbald a lso allow for non verbal communication between women, but remove romantic access to non verbal verbal communication allowed them to avoid the patriarchal injunctions preventing their love; because both B urney and


6 Inchbald further transform the romance tradition, allowing women non verbal communication but denying lovers access, the suggestion arises that the authors interpret female friendship as salvageable outside of patriarchal hegemony, but communicat ion between lovers is not. complicated by their use of humor. Female wit iv allows women to speak in public settings, discoursing with their male counterparts. For the purpose of this s tudy, female potentially dangerous situations. Through wit, women develop thei r agency and their ability to speak with mature, effective language. Currently, most scholarship about humor in eighteenth vehicle for social criticism. v Here, I examine how individu al characters employ wit to develop language; what makes Burney and Inchbald ideal candidates for the study of female wit is their connection between humor and silence. In all four texts, the female characters begin as social, engaging women; however, almo st immediately after entering the marriage market or a marriage contract, their ability to speak vanishes, leaving once vocal characters dependant and silent. This study moves through the texts The Witlings and exam ining how Burney transforms the play into her novel Cecilia novel A Simple Story Wives as They Were, Maids as They Are Through their exploration of the effect of cul turally imposed silence


7 upon women, Burney and Inchbald present explicit critiques of social constructions, including gender, education, and marriage culture. vi Genre is implicit in the comparison of various depictions of female silence. Burney and Inchbal d manipulate genre in disparate manners. The cultural difference between plays and novels (with plays interpreted as inherently public and novels as Nora Nachumi ity to unsettle gender expectations in Acting Like a Lady: British Women Novelists in the Eighteenth Century characters raised the unsettling possibility that all women could act and appear unlike themselve (131). Therefore, although The Witlings presents a far riskier portrayal of society, Burney u ses her novel Cecilia to present the same critiques, although in a subtler manner. These works exemplify the drama often confronts head on By writing a play that certainly confronts social issues, Burney moves beyond the social critiques implicit in her first novel Evelina For Burney, female silence ultimately engenders moments of madness; silence is both transformative and destructive for Burney. Conversely, Inchbald thrived in drama, but presented her most explicit cultural critiques through her novel. A Simple Story simple signs calls attention to the way in which Inchbald dramatizes characters


8 on the stage to the novel is apparent. Wives as They Were presents silence as making marriage accessible for a disgraced woman. While the depiction of silence is not exactly hopeful in Wives A Simple Story directly rejects female silence as transformativ regain their voices.


9 Chapter One: The Witlings Conflating the intersection between the public and the private lives of authors is a The Witlings the convergence of private and public is necessary for analyzing the text. The Witlings Brinsley Sheridan after the immense success of Evelina (Sabor and Sill 9). Written in c pr journ Wit enough, & enough but the Story &


10 plot had best be kept Evelina ned his she not stage The Witlings (140). One of the critical reasons for the suppression of The Witlings is the close resemblance of some characters to the Bluesto cking Group. vii Sill and Sabor examine Dr. of some influential literary women of the time, particularly the leader of the Bluestocking rgaret Anne Doody adds credence to the theory, governed and in large part constituted by women, whose self described purpose is the Instead, the Esprit Club Dr. Burney so adamantly fears is an amalgamation of stock characters, each a critique of certain sectors of eighteenth century culture. Lady learning w and Mr. Codger is slow and obstinate, often returning to conversations long after their


11 b ut is non discriminatory, encompassing men as well as women (14). If Burney uses the Women and Print Culture: The Construction of Femininity in the Early Periodical examines the bind placed upon women desiring to (2). Burney employs her satire of witlings to expose social impediments preventing circles. shallow un derstanding of the character; if Lady Smatter is properly read as a critique of eighteenth century culture, then she serves to embody the mis writings. Insisting that her studies focus primarily upon Shakes peare and Pope (2.1.50), Lady Smatter reads and conflates multiple authors throughout the play. While her access ambivalence between helping century pressures to conform to social expectations, expectations which were not always (2.1.644 eighteenth century culture between appearing to be and actually being virtuous; the only


12 reason Lady Smatter considers not tossing Cecilia fro m her home is the fear of social what she worries the world will say. with snippets of qu Sill 21). Disregarding social expectations of silence, Lady Smatter chatters continually, always expressing her assumed erudition with a misquotation or inappropriate attribution of an i dea. Although it is quite easy to disregard Lady Smatter as a silly, ineffective Last Lau ghs: Perspectives on Women and Comedy, Smatter is so easily laughed at because women as a sex were so easily dismissed in eighteenth century cul ture; however, Lady Smatter is potentially disruptive because of her social standing. An affluent woman, Lady Smatter is not without a certain degree of because popular consensu s assumed women incapable proves she gets the joke, that women who speak too much or out of turn appear ridiculous to society. However, B ineffective by creating women such as Lady Smatter, incapable of implementing their


13 victim of the practice of de (Sabor and Sill 22). Her inability to speak effectively presents an intrinsic error in erudition. One catalyst for Copyright Act of 1774 (quoted in Halsey 275 6). Dr. Gregory tells women to enjoy their woman (32). Aware of popular conduct literature, Burney critiques conduct culture and its impositions upon the lower and middle classes through Mrs. Voluble, a character as unaware of her s ocial position as she is unable to adhere to prescribed silence. According demands but her demands also show her inability to understand and effectively implement her means t o speak incessantly, she ir will you? Jabber, jabber, jabber, (3.2.471 2). Admittedly, conduct books generally applied to young women; viii however, Burne speech from a man is worth more than from a woman or if both are equally superfluous.


14 Mrs. V oluble and her son both exercise their ability to speak loquaciously, interrupting and speaking whenever they please. Both are equally obnoxious in their chatter, leading making silence wished for in women. n Act Two, entering the stage in Time to these researches, that it would be strange i the while the audience knows that regardless of the time spent studying, Lady Smatter is actually quite unlucky in her guesses. Anothe LADY SMATTER For where can be the pleasure of reading Books, and studying authors, if one is not to have the credit of talking of them? CECILIA motives to be doubted. (2.1.25 6) Proving her prowess for double for celebrity, which Lady Smatter accepts as a compliment. Burney a llows the


15 shion allows her examination of displayed and exposed before the public, Burney goes private; she withdraws into the motivated by celebrity, but by her virtue. to Lady Smatter come easily. However, as soon as Cecilia loses her fortune, she also loses her ability to speak effectively. Lady eclares her autonomy, leaving the house, only to be scoffed at by Lady Smatter. When Cecilia is out of the room, Lady Smatter comments that ghter from the audience, the social constructs behind her accomplishments and no prospects for m arrying Beaufort, Cecilia is rejected by Lady Smatter.


16 Beyond losing her ability to wittily engage Lady Smatter, Cecilia also loses her reason after the bankruptcy. Without understanding her social position, Cecilia is unable to communicate, suggesting t hat her security is tied to her social position. Burney continually interrupted, finall y interjecting a half for me to speak to you now Voluble, a character far below her in the social strata. Burney presents a critique of social hierarchy by li I know not what I say! I can talk no longer; 1). No in silence implicates social systems that lue. extremely unstable after her guardian loses her fortune. Painfully aware of her position, in her first moment alone, Cecilia acknowledges that marrying Beaufort is her only hope: 18). As an established young woman of fashion, Cecilia does not even have conduct books as recourse fo r instruction; after being exposed to ineffective male guardianship, Cecilia is bereft of not only a male guardian, but even a friend or advisor to guide her. W


17 desir e for marriage, Cecilia messenger instead of coming himself, Cecilia believes Beaufort neglects the code of character, the potential danger posed by Cecil highly codified, the language of courtship is open ended and indirect, and is almost t (Burney 3.2.748 50), Cecilia believes my wounded Heart, bleeding in all the anguish of recent calamity, to doubt his Faith, and 7 ). Cecilia believes herself manipulated by Beaufort, his interest only held by her status as heiress. Even in her precarious situation, Cecilia adheres to social customs of courtship, refusing to hear a marriage proposal from anyone except Beaufort. Censo with the Laws and maxims necessary to be observed by fine La dies, that it would ill seem dictate courtship


18 continually shift. The seemingly petulant resistance to reason Cecilia exhibits stems from ale writers of the eighteenth incoherent demands for gallantry suggest Burney is expressing distaste for the tradition. The same customs that demand marriage to Beauf paradoxically prevent Cecilia from hearing the proposal which will solidify her marriage. Lady Smatter: BEAUFORT Is she not the same Miss Stanley who was so lately respected, caressed, and admired? whose esteem you sought? Whose favour you solicited? whose alliance you coveted? Can a few moments have obliterated all remembrance of her merit? Shall we be treacherous, because she is unfortunate? (3.1.134 7) valuable than any inheritance, Beaufort proves himself virtuous a nd honorable. Lady have laboured so long at the fine arts, and studied so deeply the intricacies of Literature, to be taught, at last, the right rule of conduct by my Nephe


19 lauds teachings from Literature over humanity, espousing a socially constructed approach over understanding people for their inherent value; all that matters to society, and in turn to Lady Smatter, is inherited value, not inher ent worth. solidification offered women. After Cecilia becomes silent in society, even with her social inferiors, she comes to embody expectations of female silence. Only after becoming marriage is the event that allows Cecilia to reject imposed silence. In restoring the fortun e impositions of femininity. Cecilia emerges from her silence a much different character, nt of Cecilia, female wit makes Cecilia able to attract lovers, but she must first suffer poverty and silence before she develops the language necessary to secure a marriage contract. 80). Marriage serves to confirm virtue, as well as provide a means of expressing mature language, rning. Female reason, apparently unavailable during poverty and social trials, is restored to Cecilia. Silence then becomes a precursor to developed language; in her silence and temporary poverty, Cecilia overcomes social constructions of femininity expres sed by Lady Smatter to regain her fortune and marry her love.


20 Chapter Two: Cecilia If The Witlings employs exaggerated examples of social decorum to explicitly critique society, Bur Cecilia treats the imposition of social expectations in a subtle r manner. Part of the difference arises due to the shift in genre; the play functions as a n inherently public performance, with audiences and actors shaping the text in uniq ue, individual ways. Operating in a much different manner, the novel functions on an individual level; readers shape the characters of the novel, allowing the The Witlings partially a ppears in her novel Cecilia ; o name, Cecilia. Both characters are also wealthy orphans newly on the marriage market. much more closely than the larger plots seem to indicate. Within Cecilia the heroine is both an orphan and an heiress, arguably garnering more freedom than any other female character in this study. While Cecilia holds a natural disposition towards benevolence and ingenuousness, marital expectations imposed by her marriage Cecilia must reside with one of her three guardians, each as odious as the next. When she does marry, her hus band must adopt her name, relinquishing his own. From the


21 beginning, Cecilia is witty and assertive, rejecting impositions upon her freedom. continually impinged upon. Her gu ardians compete for dominance, neglecting her in the process. Further, potential suitors, in vying to control her beauty and inheritance, subdue and silence Cecilia. Subsumed under cultural confines, Cecilia is effectively silenced and driven to a madness Burney examines a culture so steeped in patriarchal expectations that women are impose upon her person, proper female behavior beco mes the product of male accord. Through various methods, including social customs, conduct books, and familial ties, patriarchs impose control on otherwise independent women. The problem, as witnessed e males are allowed to dominate women; silence and assumed acquiescence are expected from vi Cecilia experiences all forms of patriarchal control possible, from suitors, guardians, and even other women in her social sphere. By examini various forms of control and manipulation, a shift from witty language to forced silence occurs. With silence imposed upon her, Cecilia learns to develop a mature language, eventually marrying the man she loves and relinqui shing her inheritance. Therefore, Cecilia must throw off all forms of male control (including silence, money, and guardianship) in order to marry the man she chooses.


22 Opening in medias res the novel begins with Cecilia removing from her t to Cecilia, Mr. Monckton plans to marry Cecilia and presents a linear development of her youthful wit into mature language. Attempting to and beauty, do you think it nothing that their fair possessor should make a sudden transition of situation from the qui etness of a retired life in the country, to the gaiety of a that her virtue is a product of her environment, and temptation within London will precipitate her inevitabl verbalizes the sorrow and terror she experiences at her new venture, but refuses to allow in the f male behavior under the guise of an honest and vocal young woman. Burney reveals his machinat ions from the outset, allowing the reader to scrutinize his


23 manipulations. Rather than viewing him as a caring childhood friend, the reader his interest, and watchful o Cecilia as a commodity to obtain and control. initially fails to revealing an ability to represent personal desires with sagacity. Rather than accepting te her, pushing Cecilia toward compliance. After Cecilia has established herself in London, Monckton moves acquaintances, continually forcing himself into her society. M Later in the novel, w hen Monckton secret, Monckton quickly attempts damage control to re assert himself as a suitor. When (580). Instead of quietly acquiescing to his demands, Cecilia interrupts Monckton, Cecilia the distance necessary to reject Monckton your opinion; and I am sorry, too, for the liberty I have taken in troubling you upon such


24 does recognize the injustice o f his words and admonitions. Throughout the novel, Cecilia becomes the benefactress of many characters; ncy and the role silence language has developed to a level wherein she can defend her actions and attempt autonomy. r wedding with Mortimer; interpreting her actions as evidence of his victory, Monckton begins to relinquishes the marriage based solely on his arguments is quickly negated; Cecil conscience, allowing the conclusion that his language only triumphs because Monckton tells Cecilia what she wants to hear. However, when Monckton attempts to prevent her charity, which she believes a virtuous activity, Cecilia bluntly and effectively conveys her belief in the system, reversing gender roles and actually silencing Monckton, causing him to retrench his efforts of manipulation: A firmness so deliberate in a s ystem he so much dreaded, greatly shocked Monckton, though it intimidated him from opposing it; he saw she was too earnest, and too well satisfied she was right, to venture giving her disgust d with


25 new discontent to himself, and with an impression upon the mind of Cecilia, that though he was zealous and friendly, he was somewhat too worldly and suspicious. (795) Refusing to retard her charity, Cecilia maintains a certain amount of autonomy fro m ll disappear before he can marry her. Monckton tries to make Cecilia believe her charity ability to assert and maintain her desires ultimately instills her agency as a single woman. While Monckton is a conflation of suitor and guardian, the pairing of Sir Robert Floyer as potential suitor and Mr. Harrel as guardian proves doubly dangerous to Robert fetishizing her as an object and Mr. Harrel treating her as an equal trade for his sizeable debt to Sir Robert. ors continually appropriate her silence, interpreting her lack of words as acquiescence. The first time Sir Robert sees Cecilia, she became the object of his attention, though neither with the look of admiration due to her beauty, nor yet with that of cur iosity excited by her novelty, but with the scrutinizing observation of a man on the point of


26 making a bargain, who views with fault seeking eyes the property he means to cheapen. (34) atment of novel develops, conclusion. Mr. r silence, [and] took her moments of quiet as coquettish affectation. After winning a due l against Mr. Belfield continues in his delusion. When simply allowing Mr. Harrel to speak for him fails to obtain Cecilia, Sir Robert confronts her with his in tentions, forcing her into a silence she Robert, presuming on her silence, said she h ad made him the happiest of men, she


27 Male appropriation of her silence and the seizure of her hand leaves Cecilia feeling transgressed and violated, finally able to bre ak the silence imposed upon her. It is fear and surprise that push Cecilia into silence, but within her silence, Cecilia is able to discover her voice. When forcefully acted upon, Cecilia regains her voice, rejecting patriarchal hegemony and choosing agenc y. In almost all her interactions with men, male desire is forced upon Cecilia. women effective non verbal communication, a language that exists outside the realm of ma le language. Unlike Behn, who allowed non verbal communication for Oroonoko and Imoinda as lovers, Burney only allows non verbal communication for female companions. Whereas Oroonoko and Imoinda needed to communicate through glances to le, Cecilia and Lady Delvile use non verbal communication to communicate outside the strictures placed upon them by the men in their lives Although both choose silence at certain moments, Cecilia and Mrs. Delvile affect ation ix criticized by Mr. Gosport early in the novel (42). Rather than manipulating silence for attention, Cecilia and Mrs. Delvile communicate with looks more valuable than words; upon first meeting, the two recognize alutations were accompanied by looks so flattering to aware that even without the words, Cecilia and Mrs. Delvile are able to recognize a


28 since their language exists outside of male control, because internal and therefore inaccessible by society, it also exists outside any realm of tangible power; although Cecilia and Mrs. Delvile may be able to communicate with one another, their silent language has no cultural power. Burney quickly exposes the faults in a system that demands female silence with the character development of Mrs Delvile. Constantly accused of sharing in her expectations, but she serves as the sole female figure suitable for Cecilia to emulate. While Mrs. Delvile adheres to proper socia l decorum throughout the novel, her ability to do so is hard won: discontent, however private, was deep. Ardent in her disposition, and naturally violent in her passions, her feelings were extremely acute, and to curb them by reason and principle had been the chief and hard study of her life. The effort had calmed, though it had not made her happy. (461) stands that in her youth, Mrs. Delvile shared the same wit and agency Cecilia displays. Also, life making female silence an ongoing process.


29 Delvile is not allowed to act on her own volition. Because tamed and submissive in her marriage, in order to speak, Mrs. Delvile must be given permission from her husband, parroting his words and losing her iden express anger or contempt, Mrs Delvile runs to the next room, where Mortimer finds her of female identity within s patriarchal system is so complete that it consumes women, almost killing them if unable to fulfill masculine desires. The suggestion remains out of a female mouth, patriarchal hegemony literally makes women ill. guardians to promote proper behavior quickly becomes apparent. Rather than working together to guide the newly orphaned woman, each instead uardians embody profligate spending, miserliness, (89). Named by her uncles will, Mr. Harrel, Mr. than proffer advice and make her transition to marriage easier, all three guardians work


30 Mr. Harrel manipulating loans, Mr. Delvile treating her as low born, and Mr. Briggs patronizing her as a child. Between the three guardians, Cecilia is frustrated, and kept from developing as an independent woman. Cecilia spends the first two volumes of the novel living with Mr. Harrel, arguably the worst example of her three guardians. A deceitful spendthrift, Mr. Harrel objectifies inheritance. When he believes hims elf ruined, Mr. Harrel melodramatically offers to kill himself in front of Cecilia. The fear his threats instill in Cecil i a forces her not only to --the full career of her overflowing compassion, by a sense of the worthlessness of its sense of right. However, the moment he displays the razor blade, Cecilia can no longer speak, eve n of her inheritance, as well as her ability to speak. Klekar profligate Harrel presents itself as a paradoxical instance in which the gift is never truly a gift but instead a symbolic transaction that must take the for m of the gift for it to be atriarchal ideology and is repaid


31 does not benefit in any way from her loan to Mr. Harrel; she loses the money to a man completely unworthy of her charity, but gives hi m power over her by giving him over regaining her money. by fright to being physically imposed by Mr. Harrell. As noted in his behavior with Sir Robert, Mr. Harrell refuses to allow Cecilia to speak when he does not want to hear her words. Refusing to admit her in private, Mr. Harrell physically prevents Cecilia from inquiring about the stat us of her repayment. patience and greatly depletes her fortune, it also affords her the trials necessary to develop language and activate her agency. When Harrel does actually kill himself, he confirms his ne gligence toward both Cecilia and his wife, leaving his bills and debts unsettled. After reading his last will, which Cecilia assumes contains an apology, or at tho ugh, with tolerable ease, he could forget accounts innumerable with his tradesmen, one neglected debt of honor inability to repay Sir Robert after Cecilia refuses the marriage, Mr. Harrell clai ms life maturation, rejecting the idea the Harrel ever pretended toward honor. The next moments in the action reveal her ability to refuse the blame placed on her by Mr. Monckton:


32 your thought, after such cautions from me, and such experience of your own, me on, indeed I might then have upbraided myself with supposing that my compliance Cecilia refuses to accept that in acting against her charitable nature she would have saved a portion of her fortune and somehow been satiated after Harrel mature moment of agency for Cecilia. Instead of quietly crying in the corner, Cecilia has the language to critique the behavior of the men around her. When Sir Robert informs her that Mr. Harrel


33 Mr. Harrell may have manipulated Cecilia out of her inheritance, but Mr. Delvile perhaps frustrates and silences her more than any other character. Emphasizing his self interest and pride, Burney critiques a hierarchical system that applauds birth over virtue. In her firs importance to penetrate into the feelings of another, he attributed the uneasiness which his rece ption occasioned, to the over awing predominance of superior rank and Mr. Harrel an ge Cecilia, very little disposed to pay him any, went no farther than an inclination of th e being


34 self otent aristocrat. Although Cecilia intends her silence to convey her anger and irritation, her silence expectation of silence from Cecilia becomes so pervasive and so we ll understood by Cecilia, that, later when married to Mortimer and seeking asylum, she writes a letter, to add, that the father of Mr. Mortimer Delvile, will ever mee t the most profound respect from her who, without his permission, dares sign no name to the honour she now has in blank space where her name belongs, making herself silen t, subservient, and most shockingly, invisible reinforces his sense of self worth, denying Cecilia and leaving her invisible because he 7). Later, Mr. Delvile, believing his home her last refuge in the city, Cecilia runs through the London streets, quickly succumbing to madness. In her madness, Cecilia literally cannot speak for herself; however, in silence, she in which he recognizes his selfishness


35 and reevaluates his position of self inflated worth. Although previously Cecilia cannot convince Mr. Delvile of her virtue and the lies Monckton tells him, in her madness induced silence, Mr. Delvile finally seems t o understand her and comes to accept her as when it is analysed by the conscience greatest degree of undeser ved self worth. That Cecilia must, in classic Clarissa fashion, almost die in order to convince others of her virtue, offers an explicit critique of Mr. and a sense of humanity. The third guardian, Mr. Briggs, never views anything without first measuring its miser, Mr. Briggs fuses burnt candles, barters for second hand objects, and lives with child might be refused, by peremptorily telling her she did not know what s he wanted, her voice, infantilizing and dismissing her attempt at agency. Klekar argues that light of


36 of money, asserts his masculine authority by denying Cecilia what is legally hers. Between the three guardians, Cecilia experiences manipulation, degradation and alive, manipulates Cecilia into debt and silence, but with his suicide, Cecilia activates her agency. By successfully disposing of the body and quelling her demands, Cecilia deftly handles the situation, using both her developed language and her patience and sense of decorum. Calling into question i deas of social position based upon money or heritage, Mr. Delvile continually silences Cecilia through impositions of patriarchal hegemony, meant to awe her into submission. Once Cecilia recovers from the linist agenda, marrying whom she most completely; when Cecilia tells him she does not want to live in his home, Briggs attempts to force money from her pocket. Brigg manage more money, even if it is not his own. Burney expresses her own ability to navigate impositions of silence by creating a novel character with the same name as in her suppressed play. By so drastically shif ting her approach to critiquing eighteenth century culture, Burney engenders a more continual experiences with silence cause the reader to take notice of her voice and her


37 manipulations and her rejection of his ability to act impartially as a friendly guardian reveals her ability to refuse patriarchal impositions on her autonomy. Likewise, her rej ection of both suitors and guardians as they force silence and acquiescence upon her displays a heroine capable of mature language and agency. Rather than female silence s silence offsets the ridiculous nature of both patriarchal traditions and suitor culture.


38 Chapter Three: A Simple Story Presenting a heroine known and appreciated for her accomplishments, Elizabeth A Simple Story is truly anything except simple. At one point, the novel is a story of companionate love, overcoming obstacles to unite two characters. However, compoun ded with the love are adultery, dueling, religious conflict, and a scathing indictment of marriage culture. The novel is divided into two halves, the first focusing on Miss Milner and the second on her daughter, Lady Matilda. Although both halves are equal ly rich, this study examines Miss Milner and her experiences on the marriage market. As will be discussed further, Miss Milner is also the character Inchbald chooses to transpose into her drama Wives as they Were, Maids as they Are making Miss Milner an a ppropriate subject for discussion. Miss Milner opens A Simple Story as a witty, attractive woman recently orphaned and sent to the city to live with her new guardian Mr. Dorriforth, a Catholic priest. While both marriage and education are examined within A Simple Story it is the combination of eighteenth century marriage culture and the accomplishments x that ultimately silences women and deprives them of agency. Miss Milner, in order to marry the man she loves, must undergo a strict character shift imposed by her male companions, removing all traces of agency and wit allowed her since birth.


39 Almost universally, single women of fashion are treated with ambivalence by a nd accomplishments, they are equally quick to declaim the difficulty with which women pursuits o f personal accomplishments, had left her mind without one ornament, except those which nature gave, and even they were not wholly preserved from the ravages made by its rival, Art sympathetic female loves in her suite, some coxcombs, some men of gallantry, some single, and some admonitions might possibly meet from her; and feared he had undertaken a task he was too weak to execute understood as a young woman trying to find her footing in the marriage market, Miss Milner is treated as an object under scrutiny. While Lady Smatter saw no use for a poor woman of fashion, Mr. Dorrillon and Mrs. Horton admit no reason for her to exist at all. anxiety over his daugh xi and subsequent expectations of freedom leads him


40 delight her hearer Believing her guardian will somehow redeem female education, Mr. Milner names a make Mr. Dorrifor th more ideal than any guardian to confine and subdue independent and witty females. Because Inchbald creates characters as equally sympathetic as they are flawed, Hillgrave, an acquaintance whose merchant husba me she appeared beautiful as an angel, but perhaps I was deceived by the beauties of her appearance, as Mrs. Horton would have it, but instead, her benevolence serves to enhance also serves to quell his fears of natural gaiety, which report had given to Miss Milner, were softened by her recent sorrow to a meek sadness and that haughty display of charms, imputed to her manners, was changed to a pensive demeano equally capable of charity as of charm.


41 By the time Inchbald composes A Simple Story social expectations of female silence are so pervasive that the mere hint of female wit incites worry. The narrat or sensibility, which too frequently discovered itself in the immediate resentment of injury or neglect se of her effect of repartee, not because she possessed those qualities which c an properly be called Even if Miss Milner does not possess the qualities necessary to make her a wit by masculine standards, she laughs in public; in rejecting the containment of Mis natural disposition as painful, Inchbald critiques the imposition of silence as confining and inappropriate. Almost immediately after entering residence with Mr. Dorriforth in ussing her beauty with Mr. Dorriforth, Miss Milner treats his comments (and his religion) with levity: With a serious face, as if proposing a most serious question, Dorriforth opinion believe so, but in some respects I am like


42 The response, clearly evading the comment on her beauty, seems a decisive slight on Catholicism. M iss Woodley and Mrs. Horton immediately cross themselves, offended by observed, a nd now shewed such an evident propensity to burst into a fit of laughter, that the of silence. Inchbald makes female silence not only unnatural but also painful for her heroine. : The t instead Never one to allow social constructs to dictate his relationships, Mr. Sandford attempts to silence Miss Milner from the inception of their acquaintance. A Jesuit priest [Miss Milner] abominate hersel


43 represents the attempted imposition of patriarchally defined codes of femininity where they are neither desired nor appreciated. According to Annibel Jenkins, the reason Sandford is so threatened by Miss (283). Mr. Sandford accuses her of deceit concerning her potential suitor Lord Frederick, Miss Inchbald 43). Doubly succeeding, Miss Milner manages to both declare her veracity and publicly slight demands untruths to main tain social stability. Sandford, in attempting to control Miss


44 conform to machinations, Miss Milner continues her derision of his attitude and social decorum: For as she now meant to torment him by what she said, she no longer constrained herself to silence. not any thing sir, I dare say; interested motive, Mr. Sandford t hat I might have a greater Some of the persons present laughed. (49) Miss Milner expresses an awareness of male structures, quipping that it is only through ectations of her, recognizing and rejecting his attempted manipulations of her natural humor. s Milner, but neither comes under any actual harm from the relationship. When Miss while still witty and sharp with her suitors, Miss Milner begins to lose her agenc y when


45 her suitors attempt to appropriate her person as their own. Proving her awareness of s: (20 1). Although already in love with Mr. Dorriforth, and otherwise uninterested in Sir because social custom tells him to; when a new woman of fashion interests him, habit will move his affections elsewhere. Laura Runge recognizes the duplicitous nature of codified suitor language: may serve as attemp Rather than the marriage market affording Miss Milner the freedom she expects, it infringes greatly upon her agency and language. Male characters choose to misinterpret senti ments for them. Although Miss Milner insists to Mr. Dorriforth that she does not care for Lord Frederick, he refuses to listen:


46 Milner, what can make you Mr. Dorriforth insists upon believing her heart given away, which is true, but not to whom he believes. Several factors deny Miss Milner the agency to declare her own sentiments. Initia silence by refusing her the ability to reject suitors on her own terms. that she is unworthy of autonmy when choosing a husband. Declaring her intention to frustrates Dorriforth: to listen to her dismissal of Lord Frederick because Dorriforth inte rprets her words as illogical. As Jenkins argues, Dorriforth (and Mr. Sandford) fail to understand Miss They both subsequently cannot comprehend her relationship with Lord Frederick, treating her as an ignorant child when she adheres to common social practices concerning courtship.


47 embedded in gentry marriages. Inchbald makes female behavior in the marriage market equally ridiculous to male attempts at courtship. Continually adhering to social codes that insistence upon keeping multiple suitors for her enjoyment becomes both selfish and occupation as a Catholic priest makes marriage a non opt ion; further, Miss Milner is that Fordyce and Gregory promise resides in silence is not available for Miss Milner. Rather es not only discomfort for her, but for her companions as well. After openly declaring her refusal of Lord Frederick, Dorriforth notes that during the short ride home she appeared to have lost a great part of her wonted spirits; she was thoughtful, and on ce sighed heavily. Dorriforth began to fear she had not only made a sacrifice to her affections, but of her veracity; yet, why she had done so, he could not comprehend. (59) Rather than solicit the cause of her sighs and unnatural silence, Dorriforth impo ses his own conclusions on Miss Milner, assuming her untruthful about loving Lord Frederick. The only sound Miss Milner makes is a heavy sigh; she never speaks to declare her sentiments one way or another. The reader is aware of her love for Dorriforth, wh ich explains her sighs and silence in his company. Moments later, when he sees Lord


48 a seriously injured, Dorriforth must compromise his position as priest to participate in the her true feelings, but her silence also causes Dorriforth to jeopardize his life and his clerical rather than redemptive. When Miss Milner reveals her love for Dorriforth t o Miss Woodley, the silence her feelings effectively, while Miss Woodley is unable to speak at all. Soon Miss Woodley recovers from her surprise, and adhering to her e ducation and social standards, sical space. In her


49 (5). Although originating from short time after, her health became impaired fro m the indisposition of her mind; she Miss Milner manifests itself in a mental anguish so complete that her physical body cripples under the pressure. The connection betwe en silence and madness differs between Inchbald and Burney; for Burney, a direct connection between social position and mental health exists in that the loss of money prompts silence, after which madness ensues. For Inchbald, the marriage market precipitat es male impositions of silence, which in turn causes madness in women. Mr. Dorriforth and Lord Elmwood are the only remaining men in the Elmwood line; confirming his familial obligation, Mr. Dorriforth receives a pardon from the Pope and assumes the Elmwood title. The tenuous position held by Catholics in England answers sparse. Inchbald p shocking hint of sacrilege in Mi (Spencer vii). lmwood. Freed from his position as a


50 chastity imposed upon him by the church. Newly free, Elmwood begins to view Miss Milner in a different manner, but still through the lens of strict virtue: upon the change but give me leave to enquire, to what lucky accident we she is silent. Lord Elmwood, rather Miss Milner displays her awareness that the behavior is not inherent, and realizes that unacknowledged. adopted silence as temporary. Miss Milner bought experiment of being beloved in spite of her faults, (a glory proud women ever aspire to) was, at present, the ambition of Miss


51 her female education, marking her as belonging to the world, not to herself. While before Miss Milner indulged herse lf in parties, late nights, and superfluous expenditures, she ( Inchbald courtship period becau dominate courtship, believing courtship the only period of negotiation where she holds any po be my lover, I will not submit to be his wife makin g it clear that only through subordination can Dorriforth prove his love, Miss female power in all aspects but one and refuses to educate women to appropriately navigat e the marriage market. Taught to indulge all her whims by her father and her female education, Miss Milner believes it completely acceptable for her to test Dorriforth as she wishes.


52 boundaries. When Miss Milner insists upon attending a masquerade dressed professed delight in to every failing, as well as to every accomplishment; to every vice, as well as to every behavior, and loves her in spite of her faults, theoretically making an egalitarian and ons have of late whispered) too frivolous for that substantial happiness I look for with an object so beloved; depend upon my word If she fails to behave how he desires, Lord Elmwood withholds the right to end the engagement to trade her for a more desirable model. Reading Lord Elmwood as oppressive and demanding is not meant to condone As Mary Wollstonecraft writes shortly after A Simple Story It is acknowledged that they [women] spend many of the first years of


53 their lives in acquiring a smattering of accomplishment s; meanwhile the strength of body and mind are sacrificed to libertine notions of beauty, to the desire of establishing themselves, the only way women can rise in the world, by marriage. And this desire making mere animals of them, when they marry they act as such children may be expected to act. (9) Wollstonecraft argues that in breeding women simply to make them eligible for a proper marriage, society only succeeds in creating over sized children. While Spencer believes Wollstonecraft both argue against the harm caused by the accomplishments, Wollstonecraft by calling accomplished women animals and Inchbald by making her heroine into one. Furthering her cr itique of marriage culture, Inchbald makes Miss Woodley the only character to express any logic where love and marriage are concerned. Miss ult, which He may love you too well to spoil you consider he is your guardian as well as your love, he means


54 Miss Woodley, untrained as a lady of fashion, refuses the idea that Mr. Dorriforth should apologize for the freedom that Miss Milner expects to exercise. The accomplishments social impositions of child like behavior on grown women. The accomplishments only educate women as far as marriage; they offer no recourse for those abandoned or widowed, depriving young women of any knowledge concerning proper behavior once left single. Mr. Dorriforth officially quits the engagement in a letter. A fter reading the letter There was, however, a paleness in her face, a deadness in her eye, and a kind of palsy Rather than eliciting the non Oroonoko boundaries of love, marking periods of discord and misconceptions. Extending beyond the female, men too succumb to silence. Instead of silence promoting understanding,


55 multiple instances of silence, especially after the engagement ends, cause confusion and misunderstanding. While pre paring for his departure, Dorriforth meets Miss Milner in the hallway, and rather than express their emotions to one another, each chooses silence: She heard a footstep advancing towards the spot where she hoped to have been concealed; she lifted up her e instantly stifled her tears, and looked at him earnestly, as if to imply, ood the The above passage is often quoted in support of theories that insist gesture dominates w means, as he interprets what her stifled tears mean. Both make erroneous assumptions, refusing to accept that the other is still in love. The reader is aware that both want nothing more than their union, as evidenced in the next scene. xii bot arguing that xiii that prevent the discrete expression and straightforward interpretation of emotion as strategies that allow


56 [In chbald] encourages her audience to notice how and why it is impossible to interpret examination by elucidating how Inchbald layers her work. To simply read Miss Milner as a language and her persona; further, to simply allow silence to function as moments of understanding or effective communication belies actual character emotions or intentions. bility to create layers meanings is examined by Anderson, who notes the difficulty of analyzing the same challenges in interpreting otions behind a separation of Miss Milner and Dorrifo rth, does he recognize the physical pain the Dorriforth seems unwilling to acknowledge her current state. Therefore, even though the


57 unaware that she wants nothing m subsequent silence leads Miss Milner to believe him unshakable in his resolution to leave, making her unwilling to appeal to his love. Throughout A Simple Story Inchbald connects moments of eating with moments of imposed silence. Combined with eating and silence is the male appropriation of female gesture. However, there is also the int imation that as a silent woman, Miss Milner is incapable of feeding herself and must rely upon her greatest antagonizer for sustenance. this time Dorriforth is the one who rescues her: For the moment she carried a piece to her lips, she laid it on her plate again, and turned paler, from the vain endeavour to force her appetite. Lord Elmwood had ever been attentive to her, but now he watched her as [he] gave her something else; and all with a care and watchfulness in his looks, as if he had been a tender hearted boy, and she his darling bird, the loss of which, would embitter all the joy of his holidays. (134) Both are infantilized, Elmwood made into a boy and Miss Milner into a little girl. Likened to an infant, Miss Milner is incapable of feeding herself. Beyond making both into children, the scene also implies that love, even companionate love expressed by both parties, is nevertheless transient. E


58 Dorriforth is most attentive and loving when Miss Milner is silent and ill, making her physical and emotional decay her most appealing attributes. when taking leave of Miss Milner. Likewise, Miss Milner remains silent at his parting, prompting Sandford to question her behavior: d not you speak to him Sandford quickly and publically dispenses with social codes of female silence, espe cially concerning her once forbidden love. Both Elmwood and Miss Milner are implicated in e and strength throughout the novel suggest she is not a weak character. Instead, her silence to wish Elmwood well in his travels. Accepting that she actually wants h im to stay, which should be that she cannot determine what they actually are. Even duri ng the wedding ceremony, Miss Milner remains silent. The morning of


59 between his, but still witho ut speaking while she, unable to suppress her tears as are thought to express internal truth fail to do so. Sandford approaches them, demanding can Miln from despair to happiness to happiness most supreme than, was that, which Miss Milner, and Lord mourning ring (193). Married with neither verbal consent nor even verbal participation in the ceremony, t her marriage as well. The second volume ends with marriage, seemingly following a coquette through her development and culminating in her desired companionate marriage. What is so important about the third volume is that Miss Milner never becomes the reformed coquette. Silence and male hegemony fail to reform the inherent desires and impulses


60 instilled through her education and later perpetuated by society. The subsequent volumes de pict what occurs after contemporaries. The third volume opens seventeen years after the marriage (Inchbald and Lad y Elmwood as continually basking in the glow of their companionate marriage, The beautiful, the beloved Miss Milner she is no longer beautiful no longer beloved no longer tremble wh ile you read it! no longer highlighted by an extended pause. The narrator also directly addresses the reader, warning of the news to follow. Lord Elmwood travels to India for business and Miss Milner, in his extended became at last provoked; and giving way to that impatient, irritable disposi tion she had so seldom governed, resolved, in spite of his injunctions, to divert the melancholy hours his with Lord Elmwood indulging all her whims (197). As Miss Woodle y suggested before, abandoning both wife and daughter in his anger (197). Completely unreformed by silence, the now Lady Elmwood indulges whims she barely restrained before the marriage.


61 on between Lord and Lady Elmwood, Inchbald recognizes the ambivalence felt by eighteenth models of century novels. However, by allowing a critique of the expected ending (both in fiction and life) and the social parameters which perpetuate the conservative standard. Although the narrator also acknowled in nature, on honourable v confirm their happiness; however, because her adherence to demands of silence is adverse to her nature, th instead on a constructed version of what women should become. tion, Inchbald further critiques male


62 the intended effect, that of the reformed coquette. Both Lord Elmwood and Sandford ke her worthy of marrying Elmwood, hardship, including the duel with Lord Frederick and the abandonment of his daughter Matilda, make defects in his character just as prevalent insinuation then stands that hegemonic impositions of silence are not the reform needed need to be changed after the accomplishments have formed t hem as society desires, but conclusion that patriarchally defined social structures seek to elicit desired female behavior. However, instead of producing the ideal woman, silence and the accomplishments only demean and


63 Chapter Four: Wives as They Were, Maids as They Are In the play Wives as they Were, Maids as they Are Inchbald further explores impositions of silence upon women, this time extending her ex amination to paternal relationships. The drama opened in spring 1797, six years after A Simple Story In her prefatory remarks, Inchbald makes an explicit connection between the two works: The character of Miss Dorrillon is by far the most prominent and interesting one in the piece; and appears to have been formed of the same matter and spirit as compose the body and mind of the heroine of the a woman of fashion with a heart a lively comprehension, and no reflection: -an understandin g, but no thought. Virtues abounding from disposition, education, feeling: Vices obtruding from habit and example. (5) an experience the same freedoms allowed Miss Milner in A Simple Story


64 joke of the play is that there is no joke that can moderate the power of husbands and mic nuance disappears with the jail plot, forcing Miss Dorrillon into confines only escapable by recognition from her father. Female agency and autonomy fail to operate successfully in a society pervaded by patriarchal norms; there is no place in Miss Dorr recognition of his daughter is what causes her silence and acquiescence to male desires. Within Wives as t hey Were, Maids as they Are female movements toward agency are and filial contracts Inchbald makes clear that female identity is constructed through male discourse in has recently returned to London disguised as a Mr. Manfred; Sir Dorrillon claims disguise as the only means available to assure himself that his daughter does not laughs at t for gambling on her education instilling her with vice and wit. Sir Dorillon further espouses I see so near perfection as woman, I want to see perfect. We, Mr. Norberry, can never be 19). Creating a


65 double standard, Sir Dorrillon expresses the expectation that women achieve a st andard of perfection not even within the realm of possibility for men. Norberry acts as a voice of reason against Sir Dorrillon. Recognizing that Miss Why blame me? My sister has the sole m anagement of your daughter by your own 3, 5). Just like Miss Milner, Miss Dorrillon enters the pl suggesting that she is practiced in the accomplishments. Mr. Norberry insists that his sister educated Miss Milner, again implicating female education and the accomplishments as engendering frivolous women, incapable of pro perly engaging in society. Mr. Norberry also refuses the assumed perfectability of womankind inherent in expectation of sensibility examined in G.J. Barker The Culture of Sensibility Barker Benfield notes that:


66 Wollstonecraf that women toughen themselves by fully entering th e world and subjecting themselves individually to all of the experiences possible to men. (362) a comedy, the complete suppression of female agency p resents a conclusion for the heroine that is not at all funny. Throughout the play, Sir Dorrillon will impose his ideology on his daughter, pressing upon her silence and obedience, a set of behaviors alien to her disposition, removing her wit. Sir Dorrill on, in his disguise, still expects deference from his daughter, suggesting that the deference due a father must be extended to all men: MR. NOR: Stay, and for once behave with politeness and good humour to your daughter do and I dare venture my life she w ill neither insult nor treat you with disrespect. You know you always begin first. SIR W: Have not I a right to begin first? MR. NOR: But that is a right of which she is ignorant. (1.1.106 109) Again, Sir Dorrillon expresses unrealistic expectations for women, arguing that simply because she does not know his identity, Miss Dorrillon is still expected to defer to Sir


67 stating that while Sir Dorrillion has the right to expec t deference as a father, he holds no claims to deference as an unknown acquaintance. ound fault Broke from her gambling habit and refused money by Manfred/Dorrillon, Miss Dorrillon she exp ects as a woman of fashion. Miss Dorrillon echoes the same expectations as Miss Milner, namely that because she is a woman, she expects respect. perfectly unaware that her vo ice and agency defy codified behavior. The issue of female Mary Raffle, also a sing le woman of fashion, Miss Dorrillon reveals her antagonism toward marriage: LADY R. your husband? MISS DOR. (1.1.136 7)


68 could marry Sir George and relieve both her debt and the societal pressure to marry, Miss Reserve your anger to defend and not to does not express a desire to marry, but to continue her friendship with Lady Raffle; in claiming their friendship is based upon poverty vis a vi their gambing habit, Miss Dorrillon argues to remain poor and single rather than married and wealthy. marriage to Sir George is not based upon animosity toward him as a person, but to marriage as an institution. When Sir George first enters the action of the play, Miss Dorrillon is debating with Mr. Norberry about her relationship with Sir George: MR. NOR And pray, my dear, whose friend have you ever been? Not Sir friendship most. MISS DOR. But friendship will not content him: as soon as he thought he has gained that --. (1.1.168 9) Miss Dorrillon is not adverse to friendship with Sir George, but she is adverse to the marriage she knows he will expect. In a later conversation, Sir George offers to pay her


69 financial security and marriage proposal, Miss Dorrillon is offended at the implication that her vices extend beyond gambling: Sir George, I have listened to your detail of the vic es, which I acknowledge, with patience, with humility but your suspicion of those which I have not conduct, sir, has made you dare to suppose I would extricate myself from the difficulties that surround me, by the influence I hold over the weakness of a lover? (1.1.248, 250). While the marriage to Sir George would effectively solve her financial worries, Miss Dorrillon exerts her virtue and her agency in rejecting the suit. Virtue is called upon by her r ejection of the implication that she is guilty of more vice than gambling; agency gives her the ability to reject the suit on her own terms, asserting herself as able to rectify the debt without marrying a wealthy suitor. Miss Dorillon further suggests th at a marriage to Sir George would be for convenience, rather than companionship. In his examination of eighteenth century culture reflections on her precarious position i Although not explicitly traded, as Mr. Harrell attempts with Cecilia, Miss Dorrillon recognizes the implicit commodification of he r person if she agreed to the marriage rather than entering into a symbiotic marriage, Miss Dorrillon would trade her monetary


70 more than extending friendship reveals her awareness that a sexual relationship is refuses to place a monetary value on her virginity. Miss Dorrillon realizes her ability to act with agency in more instance s than there? [ Playfully ou have, I 8). By using humor rather than showing indignity, Miss Dorrillon utilizes her wit to diffuse the situation, simultaneously rejecting both a potential suitor and an imposing patriarchal figure. In an earlier scene, Miss attending a play with Sir George without expressed permission: SIR W. [ With violence .] Would you dare? MISS DOR. [ Looking with surprise and what have you to say if I do? SIR W. [ Recollecting himself. ] I was only going to say, that if you did, and I were Mr. Norberry (1.3.170 73) Sir Dorrillon has a moment of clarity, perhaps realizing that he oversteps tra ditional boundaries in expecting filial piety without revealing his identity. Likewise, Miss Dorrillon expresses her refusal to adhere to patriarchal constructions of femininity


71 cha stisements, Miss Dorrillon still offers friendship to Manfred/Dorrillon later in the You o be found fault with yourself You look cross as any thing every time I say the least word to her offer of peace; that she must ask him not to find fault with her sugges ts his refusal of the proffered hand. Moreover, Miss Dorrillon reveals her awareness of the ability of her words to affect Dorrillon/Manfred; in critiquing male hegemony and the double standard implicit in masculine judgments, Miss Dorrillon retains the ab ility to acknowledge and refuse men who find fault with her but will not recognize their own shortcomings. Gambling paradoxically affords Miss Dorrillon more agency than any other activity, but gambling is what causes her financial ruin and subsequent im prisonment. debt as by her participation in vice. The autonomy suggested by her gambling, and Miss (1.2.129), suggests that her desire to gamble is not for financial independence, but instead a different form of they do not organize the tables, Miss Dorrillon an d Lady Raffle both participate at every


72 eventually brought before the magistrate an the same year, Wives presents a heroine deeply involved in gambling, implying in female gambling goes beyond financia l independence to encompass the marriage market. Evidenced by her earlier rejections of a marriage suit, Miss Dorrillon may implement techniques learned while gambling to negotiate her marriage contract. However, as the ending of the play evinces, Miss Dor marriage contract is no more successful than her gambling. woman is not justified, but better understood. In a time period marked by wa r and deep entire ruling class felt what it was to want a friend, I might never have had h umanity to be the friend of


73 debt as engendering her with humanity. Rather than recognize her behavior as somehow aberrant, as Sir Dorillon insists it is, Miss Dorrillon in terprets her vice as contributing to motivating reconciliation with her father; suggesting that whatever liberties are taken by Miss Dorrillon lie secondary to her inheren t virtue, Inchbald creates a heroine capable of freedom, wit, and virtue, which is discussed in the following section. being, the freedom she assumes as a gambler strips her physical freedom In a literal run from the law, Miss Dorrillon locks herself in a room (unbeknownst to her) occupied by Dorrillon/Manfred. When she refuses him the key, their conversation shifts to a battle of wills, each expecting deference from the other: Will not, when I desire you? MISS DOR. No (4.2.136 8) Even with her debtors knocking at the proverbial door, Miss Dorrillon will not admit the nsure rather than protection. As in A Simple Story father, Miss Dorrillon her gambling debt) causes disagreement and confusion. Sir Dorrillon/Manfred expects deference as her fathe r, whereas Miss Dorrillon expects protection as a single woman. Neither can achieve their desire, because neither attempts to verbalize the truth.


74 The arrest scene further reveals cultural expectations of virtue, when Sir Dorrillon refuses protection base Again, an echo from A Simple Story arises inherent virtue, so t Dorrillon deems her unworthy because of her debts and her witty language. The standard As mu his identity that ultimately silences Miss Dorrillon. After the arrest, Miss Dorrillon maintains awareness of her agency in prison. Sir Dorrillon/Manfred offers to pay her debt s if she agrees to certain changes in her behavior, specifically her autonomy: SIR W. You must promise, solemnly promise, never to return to your former follies and extravagancies. [ She looks down .] Do you hesitate? Do you refuse? MISS DOR. I would, willingly but for one reason. SIR W. And what is that? a promise, unless I were to feel my heart wholly subdued, and my mind entirely convinced that I should never break it. (5.1.35 45)


75 Much like her refusal to marry Sir George simply to pay her debts, Miss Dorrillon reveals her strong character and exerts her agency in refusing to take money if she cannot imagine keeping her promise. S ir Dorrillon attempts to exert his patriarchal ideas of commodity; only through adhering Dorrillon be recognized as his child. Returning to an Early Modern tradition, Inchbald employs the subplot to enhance the critique presented in the high plot. The relationship between Lord and Lady Priory, f riends staying with Mr. Norbery, provides a foil for the relationship between Sir Dorrillon and Miss Dorrillon. Both Lady Priory and Miss Dorrillon are subsumed in a patriarchal frame, with males dominating their behavior as much as possible. Both Lord Pri ory and Sir Dorrillon express the highest standard of perfection for women, and both seek to experience that perfection through the intimidation and control of the women in their lives. When the audience first meets Lord Priory, he seeks a room in Mr. Norb LORD P. I have been married eleven years, and during all that time I have made it a rule never to go on a visit, so as to domesticate, in the house of a married man. SIR W. May I inquire the reason of that?


76 LORD P. It is because I am married myself; and having always treated my wife according to the ancient mode of treating wives, I would rather she should never b e an eye witness to modern household but modern wives do as they like. (1.1.46 50) Priory insures obedi ence through deprivation. Lord Priory insists upon manipulating his wife, making her rise at five in the morning and retire at ten, never allowing visitors so 70). Upon learning of La dy Priory and her complete acquiescence, Sir Dorrillon colludes with Lord (1.1.65). Deprivation becomes the key to eliciting desired female behavior. Dorrillon and Prior y express their beliefs in not only their expectations of female behavior, but Priory also prescribes the best manner of achieving it. Rather than confirm her as virtuous and securing her safety from rakes, Lord Priory actually places his wife in a precar ious situation. In an early scene, Mr. Bronzely, kisses her. While initially claiming he believed her a servant (and himself therefore privy to her person), Bronzely late r admits knowing her identity. In admitting so, Mr. Bronzely reveals that as a man, even one of lower rank, he assumes himself authorized to her body. paralleling her subjugat


77 the commodified woman are different manifestations of a pervasive masculinist violence aimed at allaying the threat of female sexuality and sexual difference to male subjectivity and homoso attacks. Simil arly, by demanding mental and verbal subservience from his daughter, Sir Dorrillon ensures her subjection in a patriarchal system equally as oppressive as Lord marital daughter and wife. Priory is arguably the only character both completely subsumed beneath patriarchal constructions of femininity and paradoxically the only woman capable of reason and complete virtue. When Bronzely believes he has secured a private audience with Lady Priory to confess his love, she prevents his speaking to wait for her husband to enter th e room: MR BRON. I entreated your ladyship not to mention to my lord that I have any thing to communicate, and you gave me a solemn promise you would not. LADY P. Upon my honour, during our whole conversation upon that subject, you never named my Lord Prio MR. BRON. I charged you to keep what I had to tell you a profound


78 secret. LADY P. Yes; but I thought you understood I could have no secrets from He is myself. (4.2.43 48). ely for her current marriage make her manipulations of Bronzely apparent. Lady Priory reveals that she is aware of her ability to cuckold her husband if she desires; she did not have to tell Lord Priory of the meeting. Simultaneously refusing the affair an d exposing her virtue and wisdom. Lauded by all the male characters, including her husband, Sir Dorrillon, Mr. Bronzely, and Mr. Norberry, Lady Priory is the apex of feminine standards. Lady Priory is as sequestered and privated away as a woman can be. is within hyperbolic confines implemented by patriarchally structured marriage. situation. In the previous scene, Miss Dorrillon is given to Sir George in marriage by her father: SIR G. And may I hope, Maria MISS DOR. No I will instantly put an end to all yo ur hopes. SIR G. How? SIR W. By raising you to the summit of your wishes. Alarmed at my


79 severity, she has owned her readiness to become the subject of a milder government. (5.4.203 6) Much like Miss Milner, there is no verbal consent to marriage; a patria rch speaks for Miss Dorrillon. Her father answers that rather than submit to his particular form of entence A maid of the present day, shall become a wife like those o summarize her entire future in one sentence, reveals that her language has developed to maturity. However, even with her mature language, Miss Dorrillon cannot negotiate the terms of her marriage; rather, Miss Dorrillon becomes silent and is spoken for. Miss Dorrillon coquette or to the female gambler beyond an undesired marriage. In orde r to achieve mature language and the ability to reason, Miss Dorrillon must submit to a marriage that confines her and removes her agency and wit. There is no place for female agency or humor after Miss Dorrillon is legitimated by her father and betrothed to Sir George. Inchbald closes Wives with a condemnation of arranged marriage and patriarchal structures which demand female acquiescence to achieve maturity and legitimation. Unlike the ending of A Simple Story which comments eform the coquette by revealing her affair and the crumbling of


80 Wives as they Were presents its critique in the form of com plete subjection to patriarchy. agency as a co mic heroine to a few comic events, in which she negotiates in the language of the law. Inchbald replaces generic tricks, happy accidents, and bumbling guardians with a tough (192). Re Wives decision of a marriage she does not desire over the patriarchal confines imposed by her fat her. Even while in prison, Miss Dorrillon possessed the agency to negotiate her release; however, once recognized by her father and pressed into a marriage contract, Miss Dorrillon is left with no voice, no recourse for change, and no agency.


81 Conclusion Both Burney and Inchbald present heroines who are at some point silenced. The Witlings need for money to successfully operate in society Further, Burney ironically satirizes female education to critique the frivolity of both the system and its affects on young women. Burney insists that female subjugation, in ability to naviga te society; Lady Smatter is unable to discourse with her male counterparts because her education prevents it, and Cecilia cannot negotiate a marriage contract without her inheritance. Women become inept with either too little education or too little money. Lady Smatter always has too much money and not enough formal education; Cecilia has neither the money nor the education for most of the play, making her doubly unable to solidify her intended marriage. desires partially explains The s suppression by her two daddies. Cecilia presents many of the same critiques as The Witlings although the presentation of critiques is done on a subtler level. Because on such a larger scale than The Witlings at nearly 1,000 pages, Cecilia lose their inheritance at one point, the


82 and novel Cecilia due to her marriage. The loss of inheritance coincides with moments of madness, suggesting that beyond an education, women also need fortunes to maintain their sanity. Neither Cecilia can find refuge when penniless, allowing Burney to comment on the vapid natur e of society. Completely depende nt upon their monetary worth, women struggle to maintain social positions without their inheritance. A certain degree of madness infiltrates both Burn and signifying a culture depende nt upon money for status. Further, the loss of inheritance occurs for both characters after asserting their agency and speaking publically against patriarchal attempts at control. Dramatic Cecilia is unable to confirm her marriage because of her inability to reject social mores regarding courtship; her silence is witnessed in her inability to verbally spar with Lady Smatter. Novel Cecilia, after marrying Mortime forced out of her country home for the next heir. Unable to find Mortimer and silenced at This moment, for the unhappy Cecilia, tee med with calamity; she was wholly overpowered; terror for Delvile, horror for herself, hurry, confusion, heat and fatigue, all assailing her at once, while all means of failing her, sh (896) Like the dramatic Cecilia, novel Cecilia cannot function without her inheritance or her


83 and her ability t examination of drama as more explicitly criti quing cultural practices Although through Wives openly critiques the deprivation of wives as somehow eliciting their virtue, direct critiques only occur in the subplot. With Miss Dorrillon, Inchbald includes an almost Evelina plot, but the ma rriage is not wished for by the female lead. Rather than directly critiquing male impositions upon women, Inchbald uses witty lines to imply her distaste with hegemonic impositions upon Miss Dorrillon. Wives offers hope to women by making marriage an optio n for a disgraced female gambler; however, that marriage is only accessible through the father and is stated as undesirable by Miss Dorrillon. Using humor and hyperbolic situations (the almost kidnapping of Lady Priory, the jailing of Miss Dorrillon), Inch bald succeeds in critiquing the occasions that engender moments of danger for women. Feminine decorum becomes impossible to enact with male inflations of femininity reaching hyperbolic standards. Presenting a much more explicit critique of marriage cultu re and female education, A Simple Story follows a heroine incapable of adhering to normative codes of femininity. Not only is Miss Milner incapable of incorporating silence into her repertoire of charms, she displays no desire to willfully become silent. Rather, Mr. Dorriforth and Mr. Sandford impose silence upon her, each man incapable of understanding her position on the marriage market. Silence depletes Miss Milner of not only her voice, but also her ability to fulfill basic needs. Unable to eat or comm unicate, Miss Milner literally wastes


84 evident. There is no mystical transf ormation in female behavior once women become silent; as an unnatural affectation, silence harms more than it helps. With their comments on refining female education, both Burney and Inchbald on the marriage market. Both recognize marriage as an inherently patriarchal institution that confines and deflates female arguments for agency. Patriarchs continually insist upon their wards marrying, often long before they are ready. Each character marri es only after first succumbing to silence, making silence a prerequisite to marriage in the eighteenth century. Women are forced to learn the accomplishments, which are determined as necessary by society to make women desirable on the marriage market. Howe ver, men later claim the accomplishments as engendering incompetent women, imposing a paradox. To marry, women must learn and practice the accomplishments, however, men continually cite the consequences of the accomplishments as making women undesirable. for confronting social expectations of silence differ depending on both the author and the e is tantamount to relinquishing both language and marriage. In the novel, however, Cecilia oss of monetary and social stability; however, the redemption of the fortune in the play suggests


85 that society only allows women to participate if they are wealthy. Lady Smatter, although mocked and derided by her companions, is allowed to speak whenever s he chooses money, making her companionate marriage ultimately adverse to accepted social mores. If the marriage between Cecilia and Mortimer Delvile were socially app roved, a mystical heir, Cecilia is left without the money. In choosing marriage over her inheritance, Cecilia is made marginal. She becomes conflated with Lady Delvile, welcome in society for her gossip that circulates about his parents and their p retensions will quickly extend to r agency allows her marital happiness, but prevents her ability to operate as a woman of fashion in society. poverty, each ultimately realizes her ability to speak effectively in a male dominated hegemonic impositions of silence to assert their own desires. This is not to suggest that each woman becomes completely autonomous and begins life anew, able to act and exist on her own terms. Both women marry the men they love, but both still enter a fundamentally patriarchal system with almost no acknowledgement of female rights. xiv However, each Cecilia enters marriage with mature language, able to naviga te social customs. Ultimately, rather than a complete suppression, there is a recognition of female agency and language, suggesting a more hopeful future.


86 Perhaps because of her dramatic experience, Inchbald presents a much less optimistic portrayal of patriarchal practices of suppression. Cultural expectations of silence are much more heavy king to subjugate their female wards. Within A Simple Story Inchbald integrates religion with her critique; by making Sandford and Dorriforth priests, there lies a suggestion of virtue and rightness in their demands for female silence and acquiescence. By creating a heroine so likeable as Miss Milner, Inchbald makes Sandford and Dorriforth decidedly un likeable. Their hegemonic impositions become overbearing and ridiculous to the reader, whose social conflicts is deftly handled by setting female desires for agency as diametrically opposed to male desires for suppression. Examining Burney and Inchbald across differing genres and time periods suggests there is not one, simple formula for proper female behavior. Rather, because of the dramatically different representations of women and the outcomes of their language, the works imply that socially expected codes of behavior are ridiculous and detrimental to female development. Each character, the t become s silent at some point, but each also expresses her agency through mature language at another. Each woman approaches her language differently, with different outcomes. Female agency does not come across as malignant; hegemonic attempts at control are what b ecome alien and unnatural. Nor does romance have one, simple formula to follow once Burney and Inchbald begin to change it. For Behn, romance


87 tropes still served to unite her two lovers, allowing communication outside strictures created by patriarchal forc outcome. Cecilia portrays a heroine willing to forgo her inheritance for her true love. A Simple Story love definitely ex ists, but it moves to a taboo and sexually charged relationship; there is a But by the time Inchbald composes Wives as They Were love ceases to operate as a plot device. Sir Ge orge may love Miss Dorrillon, but she certainly avoids expressing any true sentiment for him. Romance becomes unnecessary on the marriage market, with Sir Dorrillon marrying his daughter to the suitor most present. Silence within the romance tradition not only causes moments of non communication, but female silence becomes a necessary quality for women to marry.


88 Works Cited Eighteenth Century Studies 31.4 (1998). 433 51. We b. Project Muse 30 December 2009. A Simple Story : Elizabeth The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 6.1 (2006). 5 30. Project Muse Web. 5 January 2010. Anderson, Misty G. Female Playwrights and Eighteenth Century Comedy: Negotiating Marriage on the London Stage New York: Palgrave, 2002. Print. Barker Benfield, G. J. The Culture of Sensibility: Sex and Society in Eighteenth century Britain Chicago: U Chicago P, 1992. Print. Last Laughs: Perspectives on Women and Comedy Ed. Regina Barreca. New York: Gordon and Breach. 1988. 3 22. Print. Behn, Aphra. Oroonoko, The Rover, and Other Works Ed. Janet Todd. New York: Penguin. 1992. Print. Burney, Frances. Cecilia Ed. Peter Sabor and Margaret Anne Doody. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. Print. --. The Early Journals and Letters of Frances Burney: Volume I 1768 1773 Ed. Lars E. Troide. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1988. Print.


89 --. The Witlings and The Woman Hater. Ed. Peter Sabor and Geoffrey Sill. Toronto: Broadview P, 2002. Print. Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity New York: Rutledge UP, 1999. Print. Donkin, Ellen. Getting Into the Act: Women Playwrights in London 1776 1829 New York: Routledge, 1995. Print. Doody, Margaret Anne. Frances Burney: The Life in the Works Piscataway NJ: Rutgers UP, 1988. Print. Ehrenreich, Barbara and Deirdre English. For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Expe 2 nd Ed. New York: Anchor Books, 2005. Print. Fordyce, James. Sermons to Young Women 12 th Ed. London. Philadelphia: M. Carey, 1809. Print. Gregory, John. Edinburgh W& J Disturnell, 1893. Print. Conduct Literature for Women IV, 1770 1830 Romanticism 12.3 (2006). 275 77. Project Muse Web. 27 December 2009. Eighteenth Century Life 22.2 (1998). 59 82. Project Muse Web. 26 December 2009. Inchbald, Elizabeth. A Simple Story. Ed. J.M.S. Tompkins. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print. --. Wives as They Were, Maids as They Are The British Theatre; or, A Collection of Plays. London: Paternoster Row, 1808. 9 78. Print.


90 Jenkins, Annibel. Lexington: U Kentucky P, 2003. Print. Cecilia Eighte enth Century Fiction 18.1 (2005). 107 126. Project Muse Web. 16 December 2009. Wives as They Were, Maids as They Are and the Governance of Sexual Exchange. Theatre Journal 51.2 (1999). 105 125. Project Muse Web. 1 October 2009. Cecilia Last Laughs: Perspectives on Women and Comedy New York: Gordon and Breach P, 1988. 87 96. Print. Eighteenth Century Life 25 (2001). 43 63. Project Muse Web. 3 March 2009. Eighteenth Century Studies 33.4 (2000). 4 81 504. Project Muse Web. 21 February 2010. and The Woman Hater. Toronto: Broadview P, 2002. 9 35. Print. Shevelow, Kathryn. Women and Print Culture: The Construction of Femininity in the Early Periodical New York: Routledge P, 1989. Print.


91 Women and Literature in Britain, 1700 1800. Ed. Vivian Jones Cambridge: C ambridge UP, 2000. Print. A Simple Story. Ed. J.M.S. Tompkins. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. vii xx. Print. Women and Literature in Britain, 1700 1800. Ed. Vivian Jones Cambridge: C ambri dge UP, 2000. Print. The Comparatist 30 (2006). 81 100. Project Muse. Web. 20 January 2010. Wollstonecraft, Mary. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman Ed. Miriam Brody. New York: Penguin Classics, 2004. Print.


92 Works Consulted Alliston, April. Century British and Stanford: Stanford UP, 1996. Print. Revising Women: Eighteenth Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2000. Print. --The Plays of Elizabeth Inchbald, v. 1 New York: Garland P 1980. Print. Case, Alison A. Plotting Women: Gender and Narration in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century British Novel Charlottesville: UP of Virginia, 1999. Print. Ellis, Lorna. Appearing to Diminish: Female Development and the British Bildungsroman 1750 1850 London: Associated UP, 1999. Print. Epstein, Julia. Madison: U Wisconsin P, 1989. Print. Finberg, Melinda, ed. Eighteenth Century Women Dramatists Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. Lakoff, Robin. New York: Harper Colophon, 1975. Print.


93 Endnotes 1 as an intangible concept, but an enactable concept nonetheless. 2 Burney specifically reference s Sermons in her journal on January 16 th 1773: confirm a General Rule. For my own part, how well should I think of myself, if my Deserts equaled my Happiness Early Journals 229). 3 their book is patriarchal : authority over the female is vested in the elder males, or male. He, the father, father, women have no complex choices to make, no questions as to their nature or destiny: the rule is s 4 The definition of wit provided is my own, tailored for my examination of humor in the texts. 5 Last Laughs: Perspectives on Women and Comedy Female Playwrights and Eighteenth Century Comedy: Negotiating Marriage on the London Stage Getting Into the Act: Women Playwrights in London 1776 1829 to make social critiques. 6 When discussing gender roles as socially constructed, I refer to Judith Butler in Gender Trouble : litical and cultural 7 an instance where women appear to be full and active participants in the public sphere: the Bluestocking s alons of later eighteenth (59). Led by Elizabeth Montagu, Hannah More, and others, the Bluestockings presented a vehicle for female discussion in public venues.


94 8 Conduct literature also applied to men, vis vis to His Son: On the Fine Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman Emile: A Treatise on Education 9 round the room to see if it is heeded, by the sedulous care to avoid an accidental smile, and by the variety of disconsolate attitudes exhibited to the beholders. This species of silence has almost without exception its origin in that babyish vanity which is always gratified by exci 10 A Vindication of the Rights of Woman : character is thus formed on the mould of folly during the time they are acquiring accomplishments, the only udgment is left unformed, what can be expected to ensue? arguments against teachin g women sensibility and frivolous activities. 11 A Simple Story examines the difference between male and female control and rational behaviour it was supposed to encou display on the marriage market, were xiii). 12 A Simple Story Ambiguou operates successfully in lieu of words 13 Most biographies of Inchbald comment upon her stutter as hindering her work as an actress; most accounts also recognize ho w hard Inchbald worked to overcome her stutter on the stage. 14 See and post marriage.