Elizabeth Hamilton Criticism - Essay

The Monthly Review (essay date September-December 1796)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Review of Translation of the Letters of a Hindoo Rajah. The Monthly Review 21 (September-December 1796): 176-80.

[In the following review, the anonymous critic provides a generally favorable assessment of Hamilton's Translation of the Letters of a Hindoo Rajah, and comments on cultural inaccuracies in the text.]

Impressed, from the moment at which we begin to think, with many gratuitous notions; bred up with local prejudices; accustomed to respect certain institutions, and to confound acquired habits with natural instincts; we view at a maturer age, without surprise, the complex structure of refined society. It becomes difficult to disentangle the...

(The entire section is 2578 words.)

The Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine (essay date September-January 1801)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Review of Memoirs of Modern Philosophers. The Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine 7, no. 27 (September-January 1801): 39-46, 369-76.

[In the following review, the anonymous critic celebrates Memoirs of Modern Philosophers as a well-written, humorous, and effective tool for the anti-Jacobin cause. The reviewer later admits that he did not know the author's identity until halfway through writing the review.]

We will endeavour to offer to our readers something like an outline of the story of this excellent work; in doing which we shall occasionally make such extracts as will afford them an opportunity of forming their own judgment, on what we esteem the...

(The entire section is 6817 words.)

The Edinburgh Review (essay date July 1808)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Review of The Cottagers of Glenburnie. The Edinburgh Review 12, no. 24 (July 1808): 401-10.

[In the following review, the anonymous critic enthusiastically welcomes Cottagers of Glenburnie as a vibrant and compassionate portrayal of the Scottish peasantry as well as an excellent vehicle for social reform.]

We have not met with any thing nearly so good as this, since we read the Castle Rackrent and the Popular Tales of Miss Edgeworth. This contains as admirable a picture of the Scotish peasantry as those works do of the Irish; and rivals them, not only in the general truth of the delineations, and in the cheerfulness and practical...

(The entire section is 4736 words.)

Maria Edgeworth (essay date December 1816)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Edgeworth, Maria. “Character and Writings of Mrs. Elizabeth Hamilton.” The Gentleman's Magazine Supplement 86, no. 2 (December 1816): 623-24.

[In the following obituary, Edgeworth, a literary contemporary of Hamilton's, reflects on the deceased author's major works and comments on her legacy.]

The following account of the late Mrs. Elizabeth Hamilton, is understood to have been written by Miss Edgeworth:

She was born at Belfast, in Ireland, and the affection for her Country which she constantly expressed proved that she had a true Irish heart. This lady is well known to the publick as the author of The Cottagers of...

(The entire section is 1821 words.)

Ann H. Jones (essay date 1986)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Jones, Ann H. “Elizabeth Hamilton (1758-1816).” In Ideas and Innovations: Best Sellers of Jane Austen's Age, pp. 19-48. New York: AMS Press, 1986.

[In the following essay, Jones examines Hamilton's major works, discussing her role in the development of the novel and documenting her contemporary critical reception.]

One day in November 1813 Jane Austen wrote to tell her sister Cassandra that the second edition of her Sense and Sensibility was out:

Mary heard before she left home, that it was very much admired at Cheltenham, & that it was given to Miss Hamilton. It is pleasant to have such a respectable Writer...

(The entire section is 13746 words.)

Eleanor Ty (essay date October 1991)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Ty, Eleanor. “Female Philosophy Refunctioned: Elizabeth Hamilton's Parodic Novel.” ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature 22, no. 4 (October 1991): 111-29.

[In the following essay, Ty maintains that Hamilton's parodic reproduction of liberal texts in her Memoirs of Modern Philosophers provides ironic support for the very philosophies that the work overtly condemns.]

During the 1790s, a number of English women writers used the novel as a means of conveying their endorsement or disapproval of the ideals of liberty, equality, and the “rights of woman,” the rallying cry of many female supporters of the French Revolution of 1789. Among...

(The entire section is 7149 words.)

Peter Garside (essay date 1992)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Garside, Peter. Introduction to Memoirs of Modern Philosophers, vol. I, pp. v-xviii. London: Routledge/Thoemmes Press, 1992.

[In the following essay, Garside presents an overview of the liberal and conservative rhetoric of the late eighteenth century and addresses the extent to which Memoirs of Modern Philosophers can be categorized as an anti-Jacobin novel.]

After a slow start following publication in 1800, Memoirs of Modern Philosophers gradually began to attract public attention. The pseudonym of Geoffry Jarvis, the supposed ‘editor’ of a mutilated manuscript left by an impoverished author, was hardly calculated to fool experienced novel...

(The entire section is 3946 words.)

Gary Kelly (essay date 1993)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Kelly, Gary. “Elizabeth Hamilton: Domestic Woman and National Reconstruction.” In Women, Writing, and Revolution: 1790-1827, pp. 265-304. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993.

[In the following essay, Kelly provides a detailed analysis of Hamilton's post-1800 works, asserting that she covertly feminized traditionally masculine discourses—such as philosophy, history, biography, and theology—in an environment of post-revolutionary remasculinization.]

Helen Maria Williams and Mary Hays found their Sentimental and Revolutionary feminism increasingly under attack in the later 1790s and the Revolutionary aftermath, and had to turn to other ways of sustaining their...

(The entire section is 16781 words.)

Janice Farrar Thaddeus (essay date 1994)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Thaddeus, Janice Farrar. “Elizabeth Hamilton's Domestic Politics.” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 23 (1994): 265-84.

[In the following essay, Thaddeus argues that Hamilton has been inaccurately labeled an anti-Jacobin conservative when her writings show a complexity far beyond such a limited categorization.]

I am well convinced that they must ever be content with a very narrow and superficial knowledge of human character, who do not study it at the seasons when it is to be seen in undress; or rather in the nakedness in which it sometimes appears in the domestic scene. The men who boast a knowledge of the world, know mankind only as...

(The entire section is 8527 words.)

Janice Thaddeus (essay date 1995)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Thaddeus, Janice. “Elizabeth Hamilton's Modern Philosophers and the Uncertainties of Satire.” In Cutting Edges: Postmodern Critical Essays on Eighteenth-Century Satire, edited by James E. Gill, pp. 395-418. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1995.

[In the following essay, Thaddeus suggests that the text of Memoirs of Modern Philosophers displays a “Ventriloquist/Dummy” satirical technique (as defined by Margaret Doody), which allows it to subversively illustrate and support Godwinian philosophy while pointing out its potential abuses and limitations.]

Elizabeth Hamilton's Memoirs of Modern Philosophers (1800) was a book...

(The entire section is 10712 words.)

Susan B. Taylor (essay date 2000)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Taylor, Susan B. “Feminism and Orientalism in Elizabeth Hamilton's Translation of the Letters of a Hindoo Rajah.Women's Studies 29, no. 5 (2000): 555-81.

[In the following essay, Taylor explores Hamilton's paradoxical use of Oriental studies in Translation of the Letters of a Hindoo Rajah to address the subjugation of women in Britain while expressing support for British imperial control over India.]

Elizabeth Hamilton's Translation of the Letters of a Hindoo Rajah (1796) offers a place to view the interaction of two vexed issues that first draw considerable attention in the British Romantic era: the increasing debates over what...

(The entire section is 8999 words.)

Penny Warburton (essay date 2001)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Warburton, Penny. “Theorising Public Opinion: Elizabeth Hamilton's Model of Self, Sympathy and Society.” In Women, Writing and the Public Sphere, 1700-1830, edited by Elizabeth Eger, Charlotte Grant, Clíona Ó Gallchoir, and Penny Warburton, pp. 257-73. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

[In the following essay, Warburton addresses references to Adam Smith in A Series of Popular Essays and compares Smith's concept of “sympathy,” as defined in Theory of Moral Sentiment, to Hamilton's idea of the “Selfish Principle.”]

In The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Jürgen Habermas argues that a bourgeois reading...

(The entire section is 7175 words.)

Claire Grogan (essay date spring 2002)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Grogan, Claire. “Crossing Genre, Gender and Race in Elizabeth Hamilton's Translation of the Letters of a Hindoo Rajah.Studies in the Novel 34, no. 1 (spring 2002): 21-42.

[In the following essay, Grogan addresses the difficulty of classifying the genre of Hamilton's Translation of the Letters of a Hindoo Rajah, arguing that the work is part Oriental satire, part Oriental tale, but primarily an Oriental study. Ultimately, the critic proposes that Hamilton's approach can best be defined as female Orientalism.]

This study was prompted by an incident while researching the politics of British women's writing in the late eighteenth century several...

(The entire section is 10081 words.)