Invasion and Resistance in ‘Mansfield Park’, ‘The Wanderer’, ‘Patronage’ and ‘Waverley’

Olivia Murphy


This article examines what are arguably the four most significant novels published in Britain in 1814: Jane Austen’s ‘Mansfield Park’, Frances Burney’s ‘The Wanderer: or, Female Difficulties’, Maria Edgeworth’s ‘Patronage’ and Walter Scott’s ‘Waverley’. Each novel has a very different composition and reception history, and represents different points in the four authors’ careers—‘Waverley’ is Scott’s first novel, for instance, while ‘The Wanderer’ was Burney’s last published fiction. Rather than considering their differences, this article examines their similarities in an effort to show how they reflect the anxieties of their time. As the Napoleonic Wars drew to a close (the violent aftershocks of the Hundred Days and Waterloo were not foreseen by these writers in 1814) novelists began to explore in fiction the now resolved threat of invasion, and in so doing reveal the conservative turn in Romantic-era thinking and feeling at the end of decades of turmoil.

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