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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Susan Valladares

Valladares, Susan (2018). British Women Writers of Peninsular Fiction. In Spain and British Romanticism, 1800-1840. Haywood, Ian & Saglia, Diego Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. 195-213.

Author(s) from Durham


This chapter examines the impact of the Peninsular War on female-authored fiction of the 1810s, focusing on the contributions made by Mary Hill, Susan Fraser (who wrote under the pseudonym “Honoria Scott”), “Mrs Meeke” (a prolific contributor to the Minerva Press) and Anna Maria Porter. Reading these authors as precursors to Alexander Dallas, who is generally seen as the instigator of the Peninsular War novel “proper”, this chapter illustrates how stereotypically feminine themes—namely, religion, the home and family—were used to explore masculine codes of war‚ politics and power. By investigating experimentations with narrative voice and different sub-genres, including the gothic, historical romance and travel narratives, it aims to recover how a hitherto overlooked group of women writers were able to stake a claim to the literary marketplace and, in turn, influence the novel’s subsequent development.