Authority and legitimacy: the cultural context of Lady Caroline Lamb's novels

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Disparaging references to Lamb’s personal life have become a substitute for critical engagement with her work; judgments of the woman and her texts have become fused together. Her novels have been summarily dismissed as a by-product of her presumed hysteria, considered to be a direct result of her disastrous relationship with Byron, and as casually and chaotically written as her life as a dissipated aristocrat is often portrayed. This article examines Lamb’s three published novels, Glenarvon 1816, Graham Hamilton 1822 and Ada Reis 1823, and the recurring theme of the necessity of aristocratic moral reform, and re-examines them in the cultural context in which they were produced, thereby demonstrating that these novels had were produced with a specific communicative intent that was intended for her imagined ideal reader, that of her own milieu of Whig oppositional politics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-391
JournalWomen's Writing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006

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