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Gabrielle Mearns

I began my AHRC funded PhD in 2009 having completed a Master of Studies in English Literature 1780-1900 at Oxford University in 2009 (AHRC funded), and a BA in English and American Literature at Warwick University in 2008 (First Class Honours).

'Appropriate Fields of Action': The Female Philanthropist and the Parochial Sphere in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture

My thesis pursues the presence of the female philanthropist in a range of nineteenth-century texts including Henry Thompson's The Life of Hannah More: with Notices of her Sisters, Charlotte Yonge's The Clever Woman of the Family and Elizabeth Gaskell's novella My Lady Ludlow. It begins with the legacy of Hannah More's writings for early Victorian conceptions of the female philanthropist and ends with Mrs Humphry Ward's Marcella, where the philanthropic heroine is implicated in questions of female suffrage and women's 'true' sphere of influence. By reading the female philanthropist's different textual appearances in fiction, tracts and biographies alongside each other, my project explores the ways in which the figure disrupts the separate spheres dichotomy that we continue to associate with nineteenth-century literature and society.

Department: English and Comparative Literary Studies
Supervisor: Dr. Emma Francis
Mentor: Prof. Jackie Labbe
Funding: AHRC

Gabrielle Mearns

Sarah Martin

Sarah Martin (1791-1843)
prison visiting in Yarmouth