Laughing ourselves to life

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Laughing ourselves to life humor and violence in the novels of Charlotte Bury
Gray, Jacqueline
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
71 leaves : ; 29 cm

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Master's ( Master of Arts)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
Department of English, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:


Criticism, interpretation, etc. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Criticism, interpretation, etc ( fast )


Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, English.
General Note:
Department of English
Statement of Responsibility:
by Jacqueline Gray.

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Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
28440588 ( OCLC )
LD1190.L54 1992m .G72 ( lcc )

Full Text
Jacqueline Gray
B.A., Memphis State University, 1978
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts

This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by
Jacqueline Gray
has been approved for the
Department of
Peter Thorpe

Gray, Jacqueline (M.A., English)
Laughing Ourselves to Life: Humor and Violence in the
Novels of Charlotte Bury
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Bradford Keyes
Like the work of scores of other nineteenth-century
women writers, the novels of Charlotte Bury have been
overlooked. Even feminism in its primary phase did not
pause to consider the so-called minor voices of the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but restoration of
these writers is essential in our attempt to define the
novel as well as in our understanding of human
experience. Charlotte Bury was born into nobility; her
father was the fifth duke of Argyll, and her circle of
friends included Walter Scott, Matthew Lewis, and Susan
Ferrier. Bury's social position afforded her a unique
position from which to write fictional accounts of
British upper-class experience. Her novels shatter the
illusion that marrying up provides a reliable way out for
"Marriage," Bury tells us, "is a lottery." Twice
widowed, mother of eleven, Bury wrote seventeen novels
containing repeated instances of domestic violence,
abandonment, and numerous other social ills often
suffered by women. These incidents, juxtaposed with
Bury's bitingly satirical portraits of noblemen, form a

significant social commentary and thus merit
The form and content of this abstract are approved,

I. INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY...................... 1
Notes....................................... 12
II. EXHUMED!.................................. 14
Notes....................................... 26
III. LAUGHING OURSELVES TO LIFE.................. 29
Notes....................................... 62
BIBLIOGRAPHY.......................................... 68

"...mother of my mother, old bone tunnel through which I
came. "
Margaret Atwood, "Five Poems for Grandmothers"
The time will come when you will hear us.
Dorothy Haegele

Just as a landscape includes wild flowers, shrubs,
and grasses as well as towering trees, a literary era
must include softly-spoken words and whispers as well as
voices that cry in the wilderness. To understand
literary history in all of its discordant complexity
requires nothing less than the recognition that all
voices have a right to be heard. The first stage of
feminist revision has successfully restored the radical
voices of the early nineteenth century. Women like
Harriet Martineau, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Fanny Wright
have received attention long overdue and have been
recognized as women writers who shaped cultural reform
and literary evolution as literature slipped the hold of
patronage and embarked upon its conflicted journey as
cultural commodity. Scores of women whose work shaped
the novel as well as the culture itself, however, remain
unknown. In A Room of One1s Own (1929), Virginia Woolf
insists that the woman writer must "[think] back through
her mothers."1 But in order to do so, a woman must first
know who her mothers are. Begun by Virginia Woolf, that
process of rediscovery continues. Mothers of the Novel

(1986), Dale Spender's landmark work, identifies one
hundred and six women novelists who preceded Jane Austen.
In naming these women and their works, Spender has done
much to make Woolf's dream a reality. While
there is tremendous power in the act of merely naming
these women, there is even a greater power in
understanding them, in coming to know them as part of a
new and very different literary landscape.
Not surprisingly, canonization has forced works
into strata that present a record reinforcing patriarchal
expectations. The works of so-called "minor" women
writers have been shoved into literary sub-categories
with often disparaging labels"fashionable novels," the
"silver fork" school, and novels of "manners." The
subject matter of these works is often the focus of this
denigration. As Laurie Langbauer points out, "romance is
thought somehow proper to women and usually derided
accordingly. "2 The writing of women has thus been
explained away, indeed trivialized, allowing historical
representations, such as that of Ian Watt, to give the
impression that the creation of the novel was in fact the
work of men. Watt's influential study. The Rise of the
Novel (1957), rewrites history to the extent that women
become all but invisible. The dominant figures in the
creation of the genre areaccording to WattDefoe,

Richardson, and Fielding. Watt's discussion shifts
abruptly from identification of the novel's creators to
the task of defining the genre itself, within the context
of literary evolution. Defoe, Richardson, and Fielding
fit neatly into the record after Chaucer, Spenser,
Shakespeare, and Milton as women disappear wordlessly.
Watt defines the novel in terms of what he
understands to be its departure from the romance. This
deviation Watt names "formal realism," which includes
among other elements, the unique portrayal of "life by
time" as well as a "characteristic solidity of setting."3
Watt then describes a link between sociology and literary
criticism, but his "template of 'formal realism,'" as
Terry Lovell describes it, constitutes an imposition even
on the works of those he has identified as the fathers of
the novel.4 Watt's work remains formidable; even
current critiques of his theory tend to downplay his
exclusion of women writers. Terry Lovell, however, in
her discussion of Watt, writes that:
a consideration of women as members of the
bourgeoisie and as writers, would have forced a
reassessment not only of the literary critical
standards of "the great tradition," but also
the definition of the bourgeoisie in terms of
male labour and male protestant rationality.5
Because, as Lovell has ably described, Watt "took as
given established literary judgements," his work has

significant weaknesses.6 Even as Watt acknowledges that
"the majority of eighteenth century novels were actually
written by women," he excludes them not only from his
discussion of literature, but from his remarks on
sociological and economic influences as well.7 In doing
so, Watt's thesis becomes bad history as well as bad
literary criticism.
To describe Watt's discussion of women writers as
minimal is generous; he dismisses the author of Pride
and Prejudice as "that mean Jane Austen," referring to
her "old maid sensibility."8 But even Austen fares
better than the other women of the period who are not
mentioned at all. In discussing the novel of the
eighteenth century, a period in which at least half and
more likely two-thirds of the novel writers were women,
Watt's scholarship, if it can be called that, is not only
misogynistic, it is irresponsible. Indeed, The Rise of
the Novel is pernicious in its assumption of an objective
historical perspective as well as in its definition of a
genre that describes only the product of male writers, a
definition that results in the erasure of women.
Watt's account of the novel's development is merely
the literary reflection of the Adam and Eve tale.
According to Elaine Pagels,

many people who haveintellectually at least--
discarded the creation story as a mere folk
tale nevertheless find themselves engaged with
its moral implications concerning procreation,
animals, work, marriage, and the human striving
to 'subdue' the earth and 'have dominion1 over
all its creatures.9
The Genesis account offers another perspective on the
thoroughness with which women, who actually dominated the
literary landscape as the novel took form, have been
erased from view. In effect, Watt presents his "major"
male authors as a sort of literary rib, a blatant denial
of the essential role of women in bringing forth the
novel, and in doing so echoes the retelling of the
Genesis myth of male creation even as it contradicts the
evidence offered daily by the labor pains that mark our
own beginnings.
Harold Bloom repeats the offense with his metaphor
of literary paternity, consequently relegating women's
writing to an uncharted wilderness outside the borders of
male genre and classification.10 At least since Milton's
male god beheld the world and "mad'st it pregnant,"11
even the language of literatureseminal texts et al.
has permeated critical discourse with the terminology of
missionary-style sex, usurping and appropriating the
power of women to bring forth anything, literary texts
included. The potential for upheaval is enormous. If

the novel was produced by mothering as well as fathering,
we can then ask which came first. We can go further and
ask if the conception was in fact immaculate. This
question holds implications for even the female
heavyweights of the genre. It means that Jane Austen and
the Brontes did not "write within a hegemonic masculine
tradition while reshaping it for the feminine voice."12
If there were a hundred women novelists before Jane
Austen, and we know from Spender's work that there were
in fact at least a hundred and six, women writers of the
late eighteenth century and beyond were not reshaping,
but instead reclaiming a genre that had been appropriated
and colonized by men.
The rewriting that comes from rereading women's
fiction shows clearly that the novel was created in our
own image as well. Among others, the work of Sandra
Gilbert and Susan Gubar in The Madwoman in the Attic
(1979), Mary Poovey in The Proper Lady and the Woman
Writer (1984), Elaine Showalter in A Literature of Their
Own (1977), and Joanna Russ in How to Suppress Women's
Writing (1983), has insured that literary history will be
rewritten to reflect its maternal nature. These feminist
critics share Spender's assertion that the exclusion of
women novelists from the canon is not only unjust, but
that it offers "a partial and distorted literature which

has a limited capacity to clarify and resonate the human
condition.1113 Such an assertion provides the foundation
of the second stage in revising literary history.
Essential as well is the sort of methodology described by
Bradford Mudge, methodology that will allow critics to
"question the paradigms which structure our own critical
activity and to wonder about the possibilities for a
cultural studies less dependent upon exclusionary
standards and more receptive to the varied and often
fragmentary voices of history."14 Aesthetic criteria and
"nebulous notions like quality," as Rosalind Coward
describes them in "Are Women's Novels Feminist Novels?"
(1980), necessarily perpetuate literature in its
definition and description.15 Once beyond these criteria
and notions, isolation dissolves, and the threads of
continuity are made visible. As Margaret Atwood writes,
"one woman leads to another," a statement of remarkable
power when one considers what the isolation of one writer
from another means.16 It means not only that we have
forgotten the names of the hundred women who shaped and
molded the novel before the form was adopted by Austen,
but that Woolf did not read Emily Dickinson.17 It means
that "the myth of the isolated achievement," as Russ
describes it, is an easier concept to market, and it

underscores the imperative nature of recovering our
Exhuming women novelists is less arduous after
patriarchal debris has been lifted. Weighed down by
apology, the feminist critic has a most toilsome task in
removing the sediments of assumption, described by
Annette Kolodny in "Dancing Through the Minefield" (1980)
as "so deeply rooted and so long ingrained that, for the
most part, our critical colleagues have ceased to
recognize them [as assumptions]."19 The processes that
exalted the occasional male voice of eighteenth and
nineteenth-century novel writing and consigned a
multitude of women writers to obscurity are tenacious.
As Kolodny states, "male readers who find themselves
outside of and unfamiliar with the symbolic systems that
constitute female experience in women's writings will
necessarily dismiss those systems as undecipherable,
meaningless, or trivial."20 But women readers, trained
in patriarchal institutions, often dismiss them as
trivial as well, and the question of aesthetics is raised
again and again. Our work entails considerably more than
what Nina Auerbach describes as "a continuing trespass
against what authorities thought it good to know."2I The
aesthetic question is the proverbial iceberg in feminist
criticism. The bulk of it remains submerged in the murky

waters of cultural assumption that can pierce the craft
of the most astute feminist critic. Even Joanna Russ, in
her eloquently wrought text, How to Suppress Women1s
Writing, says confidently that "I know . Mrs. Georgie
Sheldon and be bad novelists because I've read
them.22 There are two responses to such an assessment.
The first is briefly "how can we know, given our teachers
and our teaching?" and the second briefer still"so
what?" In our determination of what is "good"
literature, we are influenced by a web of notions and
assumptions so entangled and interlaced that they have
become accepted as standards. Kolodny asserts that "in
so far as we are taught how to read, what we engage are
not texts but paradigms."23 Similarly, in "Toward a
Feminist Poetics" (1979), Elaine Showalter states: "too
many literary abstractions which claim to be universal
have in fact described only male perceptions,
experiences, and options."24 Reading the texts of our
literary mothers requires retrospection, even as our eyes
move across the page, in order to insure that, at least
in some measure, we are reading what was written, rather
than judging it with flawed, inherited responses.
When we dismiss a text because we believe it to be
poorly written, are we not acting out of the same
tradition that creates male-centered genres that, in

Russ's words "exclude women and present great ones as
anomalies"? 25 At their best these categories have
consigned Emily Dickinson to the periphery rather than
changing our collective identification of the center. At
their worst, such processes have sent hundreds of women
writers, including Zora Neale Hurston for a time, to the
oblivion of the out-of-print where not only are they not
read, but they cannot be read. Male centered literary
tradition of which our aesthetic responses are the
outgrowth, allowed Vladimir Nobokov, lecturing at Cornell
in 1956, to refer to Jane Austen as "a kitten."26 Either
Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy are puppies, or literary
criticism is based on a mistaken concept, the
implications of which amount to no less than a second
Ptolmeic blunder.
The second response eliminates altogether the
arbitrary notion of aesthetics. It demands that as
critics, we look at contexts as well as texts. Moreover,
it requires that we not confuse the responsibility of
examining literary history with "the pleasure of the
text." The alternatives are grim; they include lost
texts and canonization by whim. It is wise always to
remind ourselves of what Auerbach describes as "the
danger, the difficulty, even the brutality of books that
are becoming enshrined.1,27
Collectively we are reduced

to an assignment of value no more reliable than Potter
Stewart's assertion that "I know it when I see it."28
The questions and concerns of contemporary feminists
are not new. They have been asked and even answered by
our literary mothers. Looking for their answers to our
questions, we read the novels of another time with
motives beyond those of judging aesthetic appeal and
sorting into genre. Through such reading we correct
misconceptions about women as well as those about the
novel itself. Like Spender, we realize that
representations of the female reader "as a bored and
listless woman who idled away her time with sentimental
novels is to do a great disservice to the readersand
the writers."29 We find assumptions regarding class,
form, and gender similar to those of the blind man of
Indostan, who holding on to the elephant's tail, found
the elephant to be indistinguishable from a snake.

1 Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
(New York: Harcourt, 1929) 101.
2 Laurie Langbauer, Women and Romance: The
Consolations of Gender in the English Novel (Ithaca:
Cornell UP, 1990) 1.
3 Ian Watt, The Rise of the Novel (Berkeley:
U of California P, 1957) 22, 27.
4 Terry Lovell, Consuming Fiction (New York:
Verso, 1987) 23.
5 Lovell 45.
6 Lovell 20.
7 Watt 310.
8 Watt 185.
9 Elaine Pagels, Adam, Eve, and the Serpent
(New York: Random, 1988) Introduction xx.
10 In Women and Romance. Langbauer identifies a link
between Watt and Bloom, asserting that for both critics
"the privileged position of the male, and all it
represents, depends on the expulsion of woman" 29.
11 John Milton, John Milton: Complete Poems and
Major Prose, ed. Merritt Y. Hughes (New York: Macmillan,
1957) 212.
12 Marlon B. Ross, "Romantic Quest and Conquest,"
Romanticism and Feminism, ed. Anne K. Mellor
(Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1988) 28.
13 Dale Spender, Mothers of the Novel (New York:
Pandora, 1986) 54.
14 Bradford Keyes Mudge, Sara Coleridge: A
Victorian Daughter (New Haven: Yale UP, 1989) 17.
15 Rosalind Coward, "Are Women's Novels Feminist
Novels?" The New Feminist Criticism: Essays on Women.

Literature and Theory, ed. Elaine Showalter (New York:
Pantheon, 1985) 226.
16 Margaret Atwood, "Five Poems for Grandmothers,"
Selected Poems II: Poems Selected and New 1976-1986
(Boston: Houghton, 1987) 14.
17 Joanna Russ, How to Suppress Women's Writing
(Austin: U of Texas P, 1983) 93-94.
18 Russ 62.
19 Annette Kolodny, "Dancing Through the Minefield:
Some Observations on the Theory, Practice, and Politics
of a Feminist Literary Criticism," Feminist Criticism
20 Kolodny 148.
21 Nina Auerbach, Romantic Imprisonment (New York:
Columbia UP, 1986) xii.
22 Russ 122.
23 Kolodny 151.
24 Elaine Showalter, "Toward a Feminist Poetics" The
New Feminist Criticism 127.
25 Russ 87.
26 Russ 126.
27 Auerbach xvi.
28 Catharine A. McKinnon, Feminism Unmodified:
Discourses on Life and Law. (Cambridge: Harvard UP,
1987) 147.
29 Spender 5.

One now unknown name found among Dale Spender's
list of women novelists is Charlotte Bury. A glance at
the titles of her novels gives one some indication of
their content. Self Indulgence (1812), Conduct Is Fate
(1822), The Disinherited (1834), The Ensnared (1834), The
Devoted (1836), The Divorced (1837), A History of a Flirt
(1840), The Manoeuverinq Mother (1842), and The
Wilfulness of Woman (1844) all suggest indictment of the
women described within the small marbled covers. Bury
wrote at least seventeen such novels, none of which
remains in print today, but in the early nineteenth
century, her books were widely read and often published
in the United States as well as in England. Bury's
novels include perceptive descriptions of what it meant
to be a womanemotionally, economically, and
physicallyoffering some insight into the popularity of
this literary genre, as well as a glimpse at nineteenth-
century nobility through the eyes of one of its own
members. While appealing to her readership's fascination
with the titled upper class, Bury describes with

conviction and accuracy the experiences and concerns of
women. The characters in Bury's novels are far removed,
from the relentless misery of the poor, moving as they do
from Milan to Vienna, gliding in and out of one assizes
ball to another in subtly flounced silk. But when the
trappings and settings are pushed aside, a number of
concerns and conditions, common to women of all classes,
become evident. "The outline of a woman's life," writes
Bury, "possesses a general character of sameness."1
Unlike other writers of the day, whose employment
she described as "delineating the vices and follies of
high life" while never "seeing or mixing . with those
they intend to represent," Charlotte Bury knew her turf.2
Born 28 January 1775, Bury (nee Lady Charlotte Susan
Maria Campbell) was the youngest daughter of Elizabeth
Gunning, said to have held over sixty titles, and John
Campbell, fifth Duke of Argyll. Young Charlotte moved
through the rooms of Inverary Castle, witness to an
unending parade of the day's noble and celebrated
figures.3 One of these was Matthew "Monk" Lewis, whom
Bury introduced to Walter Scott in 1798.
Lewis was a regular at Inverary, and for a time even
published a weekly newspaper there called The Bugle. He
also produced and directed theatrical productions given
for the amusement of the castle's numerous guests and

residents, productions later described in Susan Ferrier's
novel Destiny (1831). Lewis was in some measure
infatuated with Charlotte, whom he often addressed in
verse. In 1808, for instance, he dedicated his Romantic
Tales to her.4 Unlike Scott, who penned lines of
encouragement to Bury after reviewing some of her poetry,
later using verses from one of her poems to introduce a
chapter in The Heart of Mid-Lothian (1818), Lewis offered
only a cynical view of women writers. After learning of
Susan Ferrier's forthcoming novel Marriage, for example,
Lewis wrote to Charlotte that he had "an aversion, a pity
and contempt for all female scribblers."5 In an infamous
letter to his mother, who had herself taken up the pen,
Lewis remarked: "I always consider a female writer as a
sort of half-man."6 For Lewis and many others, a woman
who wrote, did so in violation of the code of behavior
prescribed for proper ladies. It was expected that women
would seek "the emotional rewards that propriety decreed
were every woman's most important birthright: love,
gratitude, and a sense of being necessary to someone
else's happiness."7 Self-effacement was considered
natural in women, and as Poovey writes, borrowing from
Hannah More's The Polite Ladv (1799):
. . women were encouraged to display no
vanity, no passion, no assertive self' at all.
In keeping with this design, even genuinely

talented women were urged to avoid all behavior
that would call attention to themselves: "Tis
the duty of a young lady to talk with an air of
diffidence, as if she proposed what she said,
rather with a view to receive information
herself, than to inform and instruct the
company"; a woman "should be carefully
instructed that her talents are only a means to
a still higher attainment, and that she is not
to rest in them as an end; that merely to
exercise them as instruments for the
acquisition of fame and the promoting of
pleasure, is subversive of her delicacy as a
woman"; a woman in fact, should "think it her
greatest commendation not to be talked of one
way or another."8
This image of femininity in effect forced women to choose
between writing as an occupation or to work at being a
lady. The possibilities were mutually exclusive, and a
middle ground had yet to be imagined. A woman was not
expected to have a mind of her own let alone a room in
which to use it. The world in which Charlotte Bury dared
to write her first novel was far more inclined to applaud
her beauty and encourage her to marry well than to
nurture any indication of literary talent.
Bury was in fact recognized for her beauty. Horace
Walpole, who once described Mary Wollstonecraft as "a
hyena in petticoats"9 praised the sixteen-year-old
Charlotte: "everyone admires [her] person and
understanding."10 Even George IV joined the ranks of her
admirers, referring to Charlotte as the most beautiful
woman in England.11 Anticipating a more promising match,

Charlotte's friends and family were dismayed when on 14
June 1796, six years after her mother's death, she
married her cousin, Colonel John Campbell of Shawfield.
A year later she published, anonymously, Poems on Several
Occasions, her first work to appear in print. The work
did not receive a great deal of attention and so
constituted only a "minor" violation of decorum. The
poems had been, after all, published anonymously, and the
work was not, thank God, a novel. For the next twelve
years, the Campbells established themselves as a family.
Unfortunately, John Campbell died in Edinburgh in 1809 at
age 36, leaving his widow with nine children and limited
means for their provision. Prompted by financial
considerations, Bury soon accepted a position as Lady-in-
Waiting to Princess Caroline, the estranged wife of
George IV.12
Bury's widowhood, and related financial
circumstances, pushed her to cross the invisible but very
real line that bordered propriety. "Ladies" did not
write novels, and Bury was a "Lady" in rank as well as by
sex. Her entry into publishing then constituted a
violation of class as well as gender. Nevertheless,
during her service to Princess Caroline, Bury published
her first novel, Self-Indulgence: A Tale of the
Nineteenth Century. The two-volume work was printed in

Edinburgh in 1812 by Thomas Allan and Company, and as the
novel was published anonymously, authorship was credited
to several writers including Bury's niece, Charlotte
Clavering, who did in fact help edit the second edition.
Self-Indulgence, like several other early novels,
including Alla Giornata (1826). was marked by the
influence of the author's time in Italy, where, after
nine years as a widow, she married Reverend Edward John
Bury on 21 March 1818.
In a journal entry, Walter Scott called Edward Bury
"an egregious fop but a fine draughtsman" and "a thorough
paced coxcomb with some accomplishments however."13 This
second marriage proved to be as disappointing to her
friends and family as her first had been, and was
complicated by the fact that "family" now meant her own
children. Charlotte Bury's granddaughter, Constance
Russell, referred to the match as Lady Charlotte's
unfortunate change of name,"14 but Charlotte herself,
after five years of marriage, writes "in my husband I am
really blessed, tie has his faults, like us all, but as a
husband has as few as possible."15 Her own happiness
notwithstanding, the marriage was a difficult one for
Charlotte's immediate family. The distaste of her
offspring for Bury's new husband was complicated by the
fact that after her eldest son, Walter Frederick

Campbell, left Eton, John Bury had served as his tutor.
Writing in her journal in 1817 (later published as A
Journey to Florence). Charlotte's third daughter, Harriet
Charlotte Beaujolois Campbell, describes her brother's
disgust with the match. According to Beaujolois, as she
was called, Walter begged his mother to at least delay
the marriage a few months "allowing full time for
reflection."16 When she refused, he wrote to Edinburgh
requesting that the allowance he paid her be cut off
immediately.17 Beaujolois' final entry in her journal,
written a few weeks after the wedding, attests to her own
unhappiness with her mother's new husband:
The marriage was celebrated on the 21st of
March. I was present. ... I could write
much, but I am unable. . The last weeks
have been a painful trial for me. I am far
from happy, everything I see vexes me and in
such a condition I could not put myself to
Reverend Bury, an artist whose work was compared to that
of Turner, was said to have extravagant tastes but modest
means, a fact which must have contributed to the volume
of work Charlotte produced after marrying him. Between
1822 and 1844 she wrote twelve novels, earning
approximately L200 for each book.
In 1820, the Burys returned to London, where
Charlotte was called as a witness for the defense of
Queen Caroline in the divorce suit of George IV. There,

Bury published Conduct Is Fate through her contact with
Susan Ferrier who submitted it to her own publisher,
William Blackwood. Ferrier's family had a long
association with the fifth Duke and his daughter.
Ferrier's father, James, had for many years handled the
Duke's legal affairs, and as a child, Susan, the youngest
of the Ferrier's ten children, often accompanied her
father on his frequent trips to Inverary Castle. These
visits provided the setting as well as some of the
characters for Ferrier's fiction. Bury's niece,
Charlotte Clavering, collaborated with Ferrier in some of
the latter's earliest attempts at fiction, and Ferrier in
turn supported Bury's writing by sending it to Blackwood.
Always pressed for money, Bury described her
financial circumstances as "dreadfully narrow (even
sometimes to wanting a dinner)."19 In 1830, she did a
superficial reworking of Self-Indulqence and sold it to
Henry Colburn as The Separation. That same year. Bury
also published A Journal of the Heart, a collection of
poems, musings, and reflections in which she laments:
How I long for a well-written romance! It
would be so refreshing to get off the beaten
track of modern novels, away from the lords,
and ladies, and fashionables, and would-be
representatives of beau monde, such as the rage
for scandal, spite, hatred, malice, and
uncharitableness renders the idol, the Molich
idol of most publishers, and of many novel
readers of the day. . But I know not of one

publisher who will withdraw the veil of
obscurity from such a work.20
Even so, Bury was to publish twelve more novels
remarkably like those of her early career. Sometimes she
felt her limitations as a writer, as when she told
Charlotte Clavering that after reading Ferrier's work she
felt quite discouraged from writing.21 Bury was serious
about her work, lamenting the state of fiction and
referring to its "nobler and rightful stationthat of
delighting the fancy and purifying the heart."22 Caught
in a conflict between the old patronage system and the
new market-driven economy, the novel was dependent upon
publication and circulation. What Bury and others wanted
to say had to be tucked and fitted into what would sell.
In 1832, Bury was widowed for a second time. A
year later she produced a lavishly printed poem,
illustrated by her late husband, The Three Great
Sanctuaries of Tuscany; Valombrosa. Camaldoli, Laverna.
The volume was reviewed favorably in the Quarterly
Review. Bury sent a copy of the poem to William
Wordsworth, and there is some evidence that the poet
borrowed from Bury's work in his own poem, "The Cuckoo at
Two shorter novels, The Disinherited and The
Ensnared, appeared together in three volumes in 1834.

The novels were published anonymously in London by
Richard Bentley, Henry Colburn's successor. Love, which
opens with a brief quotation from Matthew Lewis, was
published in Philadelphia in 1837.
The tension Charlotte Bury felt in occupying a
position of rank even as she wrote in a genre more
frequently filled with writers from the middle class is
evident throughout her work. Surrounded by those with
money, while her own lack of it was a source of constant
difficulty, witness to the persistent parade of women
around her determined that themselves and their daughters
should marry up while she herself twice married down,
Charlotte Bury wrote from a unique place of exile that
she had herself to some extent imposed, and which she
sealed in 1838 with the publication of the Diary
Illustrative of the Times of George the Fourth
interspersed with letters from the late Queen Caroline
and other distinguished Persons. Her nine years of
service to Queen Caroline provided the grist for this
work. Anonymous publication and Caroline's death
notwithstanding, the diary was nevertheless the source of
tremendous uproar. A story circulated to the effect that
Bury's husband had sold the diary without her consent
seems most unlikely, as he had died four years before its
publication. Bury was, in effect, banished. The diary

was popular in the United States as well as in England
and was reprinted in Philadelphia twice, years after
Charlotte's death. Leading the ranks of those attacking
the diary was William Makepeace Thackeray, who lampooned
Bury's writing in "Skimmings from the Diary of George
IV": "as for believing that Lady Sharlot had any hand in
this book, Heaven Forbid! She is all gratitude, pure
gratitude,depend on it!"24
By 1842, the English press had forgiven Bury enough
to greet the publication of The History of a Flirt with
glowing reviews. Its author was now sixty-five. The
History of a Flirt was followed in 1842 by a rather
disturbing knock-off of Pride and Prejudice, The
Maneouvering Mother, and by The Wilfulness of Woman two
years later. It then appeared that Bury had said all she
had to say. It would be nearly ten years before she
published another novel, The Roses, which appeared in
1853, and three more years before The Lady of Fashion was
published in 1856. Charlotte spent her last years in
London with her two surviving children, Lady Arthur
Lennox and Mrs. William Russell. Her granddaughter,
Constance Russell, remembers her in those years dressed
in satin and surrounded by Maltese dogs. On 31 March
1861, at age 86, Charlotte Bury died peacefully in her

home at 91 Sloane Street. A final novel, The Two
Baronets, was published posthumously in 1864.
Charlotte Bury's career as a novelist is significant
for several reasons. In spite of the fact that Bury was
a prolific and enormously popular writer of fiction, she
is virtually unknown even among literary scholars of the
period. Her disappearance underscores the erasure of
women from literary history, especially as that history
describes the novel form. Moreover, the circumstances of
her birth invite us to reconsider the novel as a middle-
class genre, especially as that definition affects gender
lines. The form and substance of Bury's writing in
relationship to the market place merits examination as
well. Questions regarding aesthetics muat be asked with
the understanding that works of literature, especially
novels, were commodities. Many of Bury's novels were
brought out by nineteenth-century publishing mogul, Henry
Colburn, who is said to have published ninety percent of
the novels in this genre, and has the dubious distinction
of refusing to publish Vanity Fair.25 Scrutiny of the
works of writers like Charlotte Bury may reveal that the
text is superficial to the extent that what they had to
say had to be said within what they had to sell.
Charlotte Bury and her literary sisters demand a second

1 Charlotte Bury, The Wilfulness of Woman (London:
Henry Colburn, 1844) Volume II, 16.
2 Charlotte Bury Journal of the Heart, edited by the
Authoress of "Flirtation" (Philadelphia: Printed by
James Kay, Jun & Co. for Carey and Lea., 1830)
3 Much of Bury's childhood was spent at Inverary
Castle in the Scottish Highlands. During its occupancy
by the 5th Duke and Duchess, the castle was the scene of
magnificent parties attended by famous guests. At one
time the fifty beds at the castle were filled to the
point that "David Hume for all his great figure as a
Philosopher and Historian, or his far greater as a fat
man, was make one of three in a bed" (Ian
G. Lindsay and Mary Cosh, Inverary and the Dukes of
Argyll: Edinburgh: University Press, 1973) 193
J. M. W. Turner visited the castle in 1801. Dorothy
Wordsworth records two visits to Inverary in her
journals, one in 1803 and another in 1822.
4 In 1797, Lewis wrote "The Epilogue to Barbarosa"
for Bury. He also wrote a short poem alluding to her
legendary love of dogs, "Lines for the Collar of a Dog."
This is the dedication to Romantic Tales:
While stranger eyes, where'er her form is seen,
Own her of captive hearts unrivalled queen,
While stranger ears, catching some passing strain,
The music of her voice through life retrain,
Admired by all, with truth she still may boast,
The few who knew her best, admire her most.
5 Mary Cullinan, Susan Ferrier (Boston: Twayne,
1984) 45.
6 The Life and Correspondence of M. G. Lewis
(London: Henry Colburn, 1839) 278.
7 Mary Poovey, The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer
(Chicago: U Chicago P, 1984) 49.
8 Poovey 21.

9 Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in
the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century
Literary Imagination (New Haven: Yale UP, 1979) 31.
10 Constance Russell, Three Generations of
Fascinating Women (London: Longmans, 1905) 184.
11 Russell 183.
12 As Prince of Wales, George IV had married Maria
Fitzsherbert in 1784. She had been widowed twice and was
a Roman Catholic. Under the terms of the Royal Marriages
Act, the union was illegal. He quickly tired of her, and
the couple parted ways. In 1796 he acceded to the wishes
of his parents and married Princess Caroline of
Brunswick. According to Winston Churchill (A History of
the English Speaking Peoples: The Great Democracies; New
York: Dodd, [1958] 16-17), Prince George was so appalled
by her appearance that he stayed drunk for an entire day
and night after the wedding. Several days later, he
wrote a letter to Caroline releasing her from conjugal
duties. In 1809, Caroline left England and set up court
in the Mediterranean, taking with her the recently
widowed Charlotte Campbell and her nine offspring.
13 W. E. K. Anderson, The Journal of Sir Walter
Scott (Oxford: Clarendon, 1972) 566, 572.
14 Russell 198.
15 Russell 199.
16 Charlotte Beaujolois Campbell, A Journey to
Florence in 1817 (London: Geoffrey Bles Ltd., 1951)
17 The "allowance" was a source of continuing
distress for Bury. Lindsay and Cosh (208) speculate that
it was cut off from time to time owing to the staggering
gambling debt (at one time in excess of 30,000 pounds)
incurred by Charlotte's brother, George Campbell. The
debts which nearly pushed her family into financial ruin,
prompted James Ferrier to write Lord Lome (George
Campbell), reproaching him and warning that his debt
threatened the allowance paid to his brother and sisters.
18 Campbell 136.

19 Charlotte Campbell Bury, letter to Mr. Claves
Decorators, 22 May 1833 Harry Ransom Humanities Research
Center, University of Texas, Austin.
20 Bury, Journal of the Heart. 73.
21 Of course even Jane Austen was "afraid to read
Mary Brenton's Self Control while revising Sense and
Sensibility because she was afraid of finding it 'too
clever' and her own story and characters 'all
forestalled.'" (Joanna Russ, How to Suppress Women's
Writing. Austin: U of Texas P, 1983, 122).
22 Bury, Journal of the Heart, 74.
23 Bruce E. Graver, "Wordsworth, St. Francis, and
Lady Charlotte Bury," Philological Quarterly. Summer
1986, Volume 65, 371-80.
24 William Makepeace Thackeray, The Memoirs of Mr.
Charles J. Yellowplush (New York: Harper, 1904) Volume
IV, 164.
25 Matthew M. Rosa, The Silver-Fork School (New
York: Columbia UP, 1936) 194.

Charlotte Bury wrote swimming upstream. In writing
novels, she confronted not only contempt for women and
their ideas, but contempt for the novel itself, and the
two were not unrelated. It is difficult today to
appreciate the extent of that contempt, directed toward a
genre now taken for granted as literature, but the
denigration was so pervasive that it was perpetuated at
times by the authors themselves. In Northanger Abbey.
Jane Austen makes a plea that novel writers like herself
not add their own deprecating remarks to those heaped on
the form by others, "Let us not desert one another"; she
writes, "we are an injured body."1 The scientific
community joined in the harangue as well, offering a
physiological basis for bashing the fledgling genre.
Physicians of the day expressed their opposition to the
reading of novels on the grounds that doing so was a
major factor in the spread of uterine disease among young

Certainly, Bury's novels spoke to women in ways that
much of literature did not. The heart and soul of her
novels was the domestic sphere. She wrote of violence in
the home, as well as drug addiction and alcoholism among
women, in a culture that denied the existence of such
problems. She wrote also about the relatively new
concept of marrying for love and of the perils and
penalties involved in doing so. Drawing on their youth
in the Scottish highlands to create the settings and
characters in their novels, both she and Susan Ferrier
wrote in the shadow of Walter Scott. In "Re-Positioning
the Novel: Waverlv and the Gender of Fiction," Ina
Ferris provides an indication of the positive reception
Scott's fiction enjoyed and the way in which his embrace
of the novel helped to establish it as a legitimate
The name of Walter Scottname of a famous
poet, respected scholar, and undisputed
gentlemanimmediately distinguished Waverlv in
a period when the novel was not only held in
low critical esteem but also (a not unrelated
point) regarded as dominated by women to a
degree unusual even for a genre that had been
closely linked to women since the mid-
eighteenth century.3
At least one woman writer, however, would have preferred
that the task of establishing the novel's respectability
be achieved otherwise. Jane Austen resented Scott's

foray into the genre, asserting that he had "no business
to write novels," enjoying as he did "fame and profit
enough as a poet."4
Scott's success as a novelist does not of course
rest solely on the benefits inherent in male gender.
Writing is difficult even for those who do it well.
Woolf describes the writer's plight in A Room of One's
Own as the cares of the world conspiring to increase the
difficulty of getting the words down on paper.
Everything is against the likelihood that it
will come from the writer's mind whole and
entire. Generally material circumstances are
against it. Dogs will bark: people will
interrupt: money must be made: health will
break down. Further accentuating all these
difficulties and making them harder to bear is
the world's notorious indifference. It does
not ask people to write poems and novels and
histories: it does not need them. It does not
care whether Flaubert finds the right
Woolf recognized that the difficulties women encountered
in writing "were infinitely more formidable" than those
male writers faced. What she described as "the
indifference of the world" to male writers became for
women "not indifference but hostility."5 Charlotte Bury
was the object of that hostility; moreover, she was a
widow with nine children.
Divided by competition and the social order, women
writers could not expect support even from each other.

As Mudge describes their situation in his recent
biography of Sara Coleridge:
If female authors were to violate social codes
by participating in the literary marketplace,
if they were to transgress the limitations of
womanhood, their art had better be "gifted"
enough to justify the infraction: they had
better possess "the flame of genius."6
No one would have described Bury's work as possessing
"the flame of genius." Had George Eliot occasion to read
any of Bury's novels, she surely would have included them
in her category of "silly novels by lady novelists,"7 but
the popularity of the novels among women of the day on
both sides of the Atlantic may attest to something we
have overlooked in our determination of what should be
read, reprinted, and reproduced. The novels describe
"central female experiences from a specifically female
perspective," an aspect of writing which Gilbert and
Gubar point out "has been generally ignored by critics."8
Reading canonized accounts of women's experience carries
the liability of those accounts usurping the reality of
authentic experience. Furthermore such accounts have the
potential not only to mold the definition of "normal"
experience, but to exclude and isolate those women who do
nol: share the mainstream, usually male, perception of
what that experience should be. Furthermore, when the
authors of such accounts speak to us from the past, there

is the added danger that such utterances constitute
Bury's descriptions of women's experience are
certainly more accurate than those provided by male
novelists, and even though the novels appear to affirm
rather than question the values of the patriarchy, now
and then that affirmation springs leaks.9 One of those
leaks occurs in the form of humor. While appearing to
acquiesce to the strictures of nineteenth-century
patriarchal Great Britain, by counseling and warning her
readers of the penalties for breaking the rules, Bury's
characterization of those in power illustrates Terry
Lovell's assertion in Consuming Fiction (1987) that "in
effect comedy allowed women writers to say 'we will go
along with such absurdities because we need must, but
please don't think that we take them or you altogether
seriously. "10
Humor in Bury's novels functions as the unconscious
rejection of male supremacy as well as the rejection of
the notion of class superiority. On another level it
provides what Faye Weldon has called a kind of
"punctuation," appearing as relief from the acts of
domestic violence that appear frequently in the novels.11
Humor also serves as a bond between women through what
Lynn Merrill has called the implication of shared

values.12 The absence of laughter, most obvious in
Charlotte Bury's late three volume novel, The
Manoeuverinq Mother, constitutes a refusal to participate
in the denigration of women and so unconsciously corrects
the misreading of Pride and Prejudice that comes through
reliance on Mr. Bennet as a guide. While the novels
appear to reinforce the values of the patriarchy, what
seems to be compliance is not compliance at all. A close
look at Bury shows clearly that she is not a member of
what Rachel Brownstein calls "the patriarchal police."13
Humor in her novels constitutes "a prolonged anarchic
assault upon the codes constricting" herself and other
women.14 In becoming aware of the circumstances of women
in nineteenth-century England, Bury is dismayed by the
failure of English law to protect them and frustrated by
the privilege extended to women of her rank, privilege
which proves to be illusory. In her humorous depiction
of noblemen, Bury finds relief from her frustration; she
experiences catharsis. As Regina Barreca writes in Last
Laughs (1988), "humor is a weapon. Laughter is refusal
and triumph."15
Charlotte Bury exposes a system in which women are
pitted against each other in the race to marry well. She
describes women bound to the system of flirtation
required by the distribution of power in the culture

surrounding her characters. Moreover, Bury decries the
inequity of punishment doled out to women only, in spite
of the fact that the moral offenses which they commit are
shared if not instigated by men. In her novels, marriage
is seen as a grand game of chance in which life-long
acquaintance, reputation, and nobility of birth offer no
insurance against emotional abuse and physical violence.
Bury understood the effect of idleness, or what Ferrier
describes as "the demon of ennui," on women's lives.16
The women in her novels are intelligent and whole, but
they are forced to channel their intellect into
manipulating those who hold the power or to giving up and
turning to laudanum or alcohol.
Like Bury herself, the women in her fiction are
titled; born into privilege, they are trained to marry so
as to increase that status. For women, the applications
are universal. Bury's perspective is unique, however.
Her novels destroy the illusion that marrying up can
provide a reliable way out of oppression and subjugation.
To describe the obsession of the upper class in terms
like "the frivolity of beauty, the heartlessness of
fashion, and the insipidity of elegance," was one thing
coming from the pen of Susan Ferrier; for Bury to make
such observations meant quite another.17
Through humor. Bury and others, including Ferrier

and Austen, wrest control of a genre restricted by
tradition as well as by the demands of the publisher. In
fact they may be harking back to the genesis of the novel
itself. Judith Kegan Gardiner asserts that by "using
traditional definitions of the genre," we can call Aphra
Behn's Love Letters the first English novel, "which lets
the novelistic canon begin by laughing at itself."18
Humor is one element of the subtext that facilitated
the exchange of ideas within the mainstream of popular
fiction rather than the radical periphery that failed to
touch the every day lives of most nineteenth-century
women. These accounts are punctuated by humorous
depictions of self-aggrandizing men whose value, already
inflated by gender, is compounded by rank. Bury's use of
humor occurs as a progression, accelerating after the
dark plots of her early work, and peaking with the
publication of The History of a Flirt, where her writing
is uncharacteristically confident, albeit grossly misread
by male reviewers.
Bury's first novel, Self-Indulgence, was published
in 1812. The rising middle class of England as it
collides with nobility of failing means provides the
backdrop of this novel. At the urging of his parents.
Lord and Lady Doneraille, Granville Doneraille marries
Sophia Dickens, the daughter of a wealthy merchant.

Doneraillewhose weak, sickly, and flawed character
includes a propensity for "not thinking at all, till
necessity compelled him to act"is already secretly
married to Corrisande de Montbazon, lone survivor of a
family of French nobility murdered by Robespierre.19
Even in this early novel, written when Bury was thirty-
seven, her understanding of men, women, and their
relationships is evident. Doneraille moves back and
forth between the two women, alternately charmed and
bored by them. Having won the hand of Corrisande, "time
rolled on," and "possession lessened the value of her":
The song that had excited transport, was heard
first with simple admiration, and then with
indifference. The touching tones of voice that
once made the dryest subject, when read by her,
delightful, grew familiar to the ear. ... 20
Later when Corrisande disappears, Doneraille is enchanted
by her plight, imagining her circumstances as "a most
affecting romance, of which Corrisande was the heroine."
He is again charmed by Corrisande, who "placed in a new
situation . became to him a new woman, and
consequently interesting".21
Bury frequently pauses in her description of a
specific situation to make general statements about the
lot of women, as in this passage where Doneraille leaves

It is this passive state of suffering which is
most difficult to endure, and which is
generally the fate of women to experience. It
is but too commonly their lot to be deceived
into a belief, that, as they are the gentler
sex, so ought they to be the weakest. . .22
The women in Bury's novels are not powerless. They have
great beauty or wealth; they are often born into
nobility. The nameless servants offering tea or freshly
pressed linens in the background of her novels are not
her concern. They are the poor who "will always be with
us." She presents a picture of marriage in high life,
marriage with all the advantages; she writes to us of
marriage as good as it gets, and indeed it is not very
good. Bury describes wives "not unfrequently considered
as a kind of inanimate piece of household furniture, in
whom mental qualities are wholly useless."23
Charlotte Bury wrote in the shadow of Mary
Wollstonecraft's radical feminism, and although Bury's
readers would be unlikely to turn the pages of
Vindication of the Rights of Woman, some of that book's
message could be found in her characterization of men
like Granville Doneraille. In the following passage, the
young nobleman explains his sudden departure to his
father who is hoping that young Doneraille will take
Sophie, the daughter of the merchant, as his wife:
I go therefore for a short time to Yorkshire,
to compose my thoughts, and subdue them to your

willI made love enough to the lady at our
first interview to serve her for the next six
weeks, and more than I would have done to
anything under sixty thousand pounds.24
Stopping short of asking the questions Wollstonecraft
posed, Bury describes the concessions made by women and
the consolation prizes they are offered for making them.
Throughout her novels, passages like the previous one
typify Bury's characterization of men, particularly those
of the upper class. The women who are subordinate to
these men recognize the order of things and grudgingly
accept whatever compensations are handed out. When Lord
Doneraille insists that his wife entertain Sophia
Dickens' parents, the noblewoman:
bit her lips, brushed off a tear, gulped down
an angry reply in silence, and promised to
obey. "Bye the bye love," said her Lord, as he
handed her into her carriage, "call at Rundell
and Bridge on your way, and see how you like
the new diamond aigrette I ordered for you."25
Bury's female characters could be read as pandering and
complaisant, but a closer look reveals her
characterization to be a careful depiction of the
situation in which women of the time were caught, the
dilemma compounded by the fact that they shared their
beds with the enemy. Most of them were unable to
articulate the problem as a problem, let alone question
their circumstances or advocate any sort of change. Her

careful descriptions reveal a remarkable understanding of
the inequity inherent in marriage. With Self-Indulgence.
Bury's first work of fiction, the pattern of lampooning
nobility, which continues throughout her novels, begins.
Sophia Dickens, Corrisande de Montbazon, even Lady
Doneraille are at the mercy of male whim. Bury responds
to their plight by portraying male nobles as ludicrous.
Even from this first novel, which is anything but a funny
book, a kind of scathing humor emerges. The humorous
depiction of noblemen accelerates along with her
determination to tell the truth about the lives of women,
even as she does so within a discourse that appears to
reproduce the culture as it stands.
In Self-Indulgence, Bury laments the limitations of
English law and its failure to protect women of foreign
birth married in Roman Catholic ceremonies. In addition,
Bury insists on the sorority of women in her
characterization. When Sophia learns that her husband is
a bigamist, and that he abandoned Corrisande to marry
her, she seeks out the French woman and befriends her,
eventually raising Corrisande's son as her own. Bury's
novels offer a polite refutation of the portrayal of
women as constantly pitted against one another, their
relationships with each other ending when men walked into
the room.

With bitter wit, Bury also describes the marketing
of women and the inflated value of men, even those guilty
of bigamy and abandonment. As the drama between
Corrisande and Sophia is being played out. Lady
Hightower, mother of two single daughters, speculates
that the young Lord will soon be divorced, and is
"delighted to think there [will be] another chance in the
market for them."26 Bury's anger here is apparent, and
her disgust with the inflated value of noblemen, or
savage nobles, if you will, is reflected in her own
refusal to marry one.
Conduct Is Fate was published with some
reservations, by William Blackwood. In a letter to
Ferrier, the publisher expressed his anxiety regarding a
scene of domestic violence in the work. Confident that
the book would be a commercial success, he was concerned
that the novel be made "acceptable to British readers,
who are not accustomed to a husband knocking down his
wife, nor yet to some other traits of Continental
manners."27 Domestic violence, nevertheless, became an
important theme in Bury's novels, leading one to believe
that British readers were unfortunately more acquainted
with such incidents than Blackwood wished to admit.
The setting for Conduct Is Fate follows Bury's
travels through Italy in the years immediately preceding

her second marriage. Susan Ferrier commented on the
novel's "beautiful descriptions" but complained that the
book included "too much of them to please the generality
of readers."28 The main character, orphaned Bertha de
Chanci, lives near Lausanne, one of Charlotte's stops in
1817. Soon after Bertha elopes with the Comte DEgmont--
who hopes to gain financially from the matchthe Comte
becomes increasingly abusive in his treatment of her.
Bertha wonders, "How shall I ever please him . and
how know to avoid giving him offence?" Bury also
describes Bertha's wounded spirit: "after a time, she
found herself frequently reading over the same song, and
working, till her hands dropped down listless, and her
eyes gazed on vacancy.1,29 Moreover, Bury details the
cycle of abuse as D'Egmont's violence toward Bertha
accelerates, and she receives his embraces and romantic
overtures with increasing ambivalence.
When D'Egmont at last abandons Bertha, she is forced
to accept a position as governess, one of the few
professions open to women, an occupation Russ defines as
"that anomalous social position somewhere between
gentlewoman and servant.30 Bury describes the
humiliation often associated with this work: "the master
of the family invariably thinks more of his cook than of
his children's governess; the salary which he willingly

gives the former he grudges to the latter."31 Bertha is
at last rescued by another woman; in this case, Lady
Mayfield, who bears a remarkable resemblance to Bury
herself. Like Bury, Lady Mayfield is good-natured,
witty, generous, and (in her own words) "dotingly fond of
dogs. 32
Bury continued to describe and discuss society in
fiction. It was a popular activity at the time; even
Walter Scott had a go at it, but upon rereading his novel
St. Ronan's Well. Scott made this entry in his journal:
"I must allow the fashionable portraits are not the true
thing. I am too much out of the way to see and remark
the ridiculous in society."33 Bury, however, was not
"too much out of the way," and so the characters in her
novel, The Exclusives (1830), were thinly disguised
ladies and gentlemen of nineteenth-century "ton."
Immediately after the novel was published, Marsh and
Miller produced a pamphlet, "Key to the Royal Novel The
Exclusives," which identified the various characters with
the Lords and Ladies whom they represented. Bury's
characterization is scathing; it is Lifestyles of the
Rich and Famous with a twist. "What do you think I have
been doing all night?" Lady Boileau asks Spencer Newcomb.
"Not listening to the opera," he replies. "As if anybody
ever really came to listen," she observed.
"It is the

very last thing one comes to the opera for."34 Again,
those with position and privilege, thoughtlessly going
through the motions of social intercourse, are made to
look ridiculous, even to one another. Bury's disgust
remains just below the surface, articulated only in her
When Lord Tonnerre praises the form of a young
singer by comparing her neck to that of a race horse,
Bury steps in as narrator to observe that the
"simile . was perhaps the only figure of speech
the . Lord could have hazarded, consistently with his
knowledge of any subject.1,35 Bury's financial
circumstances prompted her to look at the idleness of her
peers with the detachment of one whose investment has
been diminished even as her birth afforded her depictions
the accuracy of an insider. She describes Lady Tilney as
one "who could not bear for others to precede her even in
the inspection of a trousseau.1,36 Bury's characters are
described as being about the business of "overcoming to
some degree, the difficulty with which we know a rich man
shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven."37 Bury draws
humorous depictions of the noblemen, as well as the women
who go along with them, women who parade through society
in a parody of power.

Bury bristles as she records Lord Glenmore's
condescending affection in loving "his wife a thousand
times more for her unsophisticated sweetness." He sends
her off with the admonition to "let me hear you are the
envy of the women, and the admiration of the men.
Remember, love, to please me."38 Is Bury aware Of her
tone of disgust in describing Glenmore's patronizing
relationship with his wife? Is her awareness in fact an
issue? As Poovey points out, "the prevalence of . .
strategies" that
enabled women to conceive of themselves in two
apparently incompatible ways or to express
themselves in a code capable of being read two ways:
as acquiescence to the norm and as departure from
it . does not always mean that women writers
were conscious of the restrictions that they
faced or that they deliberately struggled to
transcend them.39
There was, as Mary Cullinan asserts in her discussion of
nineteenth-century women writers, "no forum for issues
related to women."40 Even legislative efforts resulting
from Caroline Norton's initiatives tended to protect the
victim of violent physical abuse rather than question the
subordination of all women.41 Furthermore, Cullinan
reminds the reader that Mary Wollstonecraft was seen as
an extremist; it became the task then, of women authors
to create "works that question the social," which they
accomplished through tucking "beneath the tales of

heroines finding happiness with gentlemen of
fortune . disquieting scenes and images that belie
the authors' faith in traditional values and accepted
Love was published in Philadelphia in 1837. The
novel, which opens with a quotation from Matthew Lewis,
examines the marriage of Mable Elton and Lord Francis
Herbert, an extravagant gambler and philanderer. As in
many of Bury's other novels, Lord Herbert's blue blood
does not prevent him from abusing his wife physically as
well as emotionally. Lady Herbert endures years of ill
treatment, justifying it to herself by her belief that
"love is the principle whereby everything great and good
may be achieved . the governing law of the
universe. "43
In his review of Love, which appeared in The Times,
11 January 1838, Thackeray responds to Bury's scenes of
domestic violence with sarcasm:
If this is exclusive love, it should be a
lesson to all men never to marry a woman beyond
the rank of a milk-maid and vice-versa. But we
may venture humbly to ask, are exclusives,
fashionables, lords, or whatever they are
called, so continually drunk? ... Do they
kick their ladies out of bed? Do they, after
having so ejected them, proceed to flog them as
they lie on the floor?44
Anticipating such a response, Bury offers these comments
within the context of the novel:

How many marriages are like this one! ... It
is a common practice to say, Oh! how
unnatural! Oh! how exaggerated!. . but a
thousand more could be added to the catalogue
of Lady Herbert's life, without any
Certainly the violence against women that Thackeray
lampooned and Blackwood had feared might offend British
readers was not a phenomenon of fiction. In a letter to
Charlotte Clavering, Susan Ferrier recounts a
conversation with Bury in which they debate whether it
would be preferable to be married to a man inclined to
kicking or stabbing. Ferrier asserts, "I am for a
stabber, but I dare say you will be for putting up with a
kicker ... I maintain there is but one crime a woman
could never forgive in her husband, and that is
An advertisement for The History of a Flirt, which
appeared in 1840, promised that the work is "among the
best novels of its kind for many years given to the world
by the English press," The Dispatch calls it "an
admirable novel." And a quotation taken from The Morning
Post counsels that "no thoughtless or giddy woman can
rise from the perusal of this useful and agreeable work,
without feeling that it must be her own fault if the
lesson it inculcates is thrown away."47 Close reading.
however, reveals lessons considerably different from

those celebrated by The Post. The History of a Flirt was
written when Bury was sixty-five and is in many ways her
strongest work.
The words following the title ("By Herself") promise
a sort of authenticity. Throughout the narrative, Bury's
voice is clear and unfaltering, and through comedy she
provides what Poovey describes as "the articulation of
simultaneous if contradictory self images."48 Louisa
Vansittart takes on the patriarchy, determined to play
their game by her rules. She comes to the brink of
social ruin on a number of occasions through her
flirtation with men who are older and more powerful than
herself. Louisa flirts with two young suitors, Alfred
Jones and Dyneton, who eventually duel. Dyneton is
severely wounded and has to wear a wooden leg, but, as
Louisa points out, "he is a lawyer," and "it little
signified whether lawyers had legs of flesh or wood . .
their vocation being to raise feuds and widen
disturbances."49 She is interested in neither of the
men, and quickly moves on to bigger game. Louisa avoids
the pitfalls of romantic love, the love Poovey describes
as making "women dream of being swept off their feet and
ending by reinforcing the helplessness that makes
learning to stand on their own two feet unlikely."50
Louisa has no such illusions and is aware that the object

of the game is to sell the goods to the highest bidder,
but even as she moves toward that goal she rebels. Her
rebellion takes shape in her reluctance to marry the
wealthy, aging men who pursue her, but is tempered by the
realities of nineteenth-century England.
Against the backdrop of soirees at Almacks and day-
trips to Malvern with bored and boring gentry in finely
sewn silks, Louisa's intellect is made apparent through
her humor. Visiting the home of a family friend, she
describes a woman she meets there, Mrs. Almeira, as "the
queen of celibacy in Southhampton.1,51 Dr. Drinkwater,
who eventually marries Louisa's sister, drifts in and out
of lucidity calling everybody "what' s-his-name.1,52 He is
quite funny until he begins beating his wife.
Louisa describes her suitor, Lord Elford, as "the
fountain from which all luxury was to flow.''53 His "one
dominant passion . the desire to be loved for
himself" ignores the obvious exchange of youth, beauty,
and virginity for wealth and social position.54
Promising Louisa that he will be "indulgent in every
respect," Elford insists that "my wife is my own
property, and she belongs exclusively to myself."55 He
tells her that he "will never allow a female friend,"
confessing a fear not uncommon among his peers.56 Louisa
is angered by Elford's insistence, comparing the status

of married women to that of slaves. "What is slavery,"
she asks, "but dictation carried to excess?" "A wife is
not an independent being," Elford replies, "She belongs
to her husband." Promising that he will watch over her
"with affection and indulgence," and "never be cross,"
Elford insists that, "I have witnessed much misery, and
heard bitter reproaches, yet they all and each originated
in a female friend."57
In the end, Louisa conforms, but she takes the long
road to that conformity and raises some interesting
questions enroute. Novels like this one have been read
as works of "submission to women's supportive role" by
Judy Little as well as Elaine Showalter, but such reading
exalts the conclusion, discounting the adherence to form
and the substance of the characters' entire experience.58
To read the novels in this way is like defining
individuals by their deaths rather than by their lives.
A year later in 1841, Bury published Family
Records: or The Two Sisters, which recounts the lives of
Susan and Margaret Falkland. Susan, reminiscent of
Charlotte's own sister, Agatha, marries an abusive
nobleman who becomes heavily embroiled in gambling.
Burys wit is evident as she describes Margaret
Falkland's response to the lengthy recital of a tedious
dinner guest. In what he refers to as "the malt scene,"

the pretentious young man describes his horror at a young
woman's request for beer at a country dance:
. . after dancing with all the Goths, there,
till her face was actually disfigured, by that
distressing degree of caloric that can only be
produced by that most vulgar of all vulgar
thingsan English country dance, she
positively declared that nothing would refresh
her so much as beer, and proceeded instantly to
swallow a large tumbler of that dreadful
beverage. I did not speak to her any more that
evening, as you may imagine, but I was too
good-natured to give her up altogether, and the
next day I privately advised her, as a friend,
to relinquish these propensities, and I flatter
myself she had not again so far transgressed
the rules of female propriety.
The tale at last ended, Margaret Falkland turns to the
servant behind her and requests a beer for herself.59
"Pelt the crazy masculinist idea with laughter," suggests
Denise Marshall.60
Writing from a position of privilege, Bury could not
help but be amused by middle-class pandering to nobility
in the exchange of title and money taking place in early
nineteenth-century England. Reading her description of
the response to a duet sung by the heroine of Conduct Is
Fate. Bertha de Chanci and Sir George, one is necessarily
reminded of the party gathered around the fire to hear
Austen1s Lady Catherine determine what weather they were
going to have on the morrow:
dead silence, for some instants, was preserved
by the rest of the company, who appeared
waiting to catch the watch-word of applause or

disappointment from some noted and avowed
judge; then having ascertained the precise
measure with which they were to be delighted or
offended, a burst of noise was heard.61
Noble birth, it appeared included among other
propensities the inclination for discernment of musical
In her discussion of comic incidents in the novels
of women, Judy Little asserts that "the comedy is
not . merely incidental to an otherwise "serious"
novel. ... At its deepest level the comedy does from
another angle what time, storms, war, and death, do to
the mythic values that provide an apparently sturdy and
ancient order." The comedy "undercuts that power of the
order-affirming images embodied" by other characters.62
The juxtaposition of these "order-affirming images" with
humorous passages that undercut their power is apparent
in Bury's other novels as well.
In a very short novel entitled The Disinherited,
superficial Sir Robert Leslie wants his wife and his
daughters, Honoria and Letitia, to "expand" by shopping
on the west side of town and giving sherbet to the
servants.63 It is clear from Bury's portrayal of Sir
Leslie that his very insistence on such "expansion" only
serves to underline how limited and small he is. Leslie
bullies both his wife and their daughters with his

determination that they marry well. When Honoria refuses
to marry the man that her father has chosen for her,
there is a scene, and Sir Robert dies of a heart attack.
The liquid part of the estate passes to Lady Leslie's
son, leaving Lady Leslie and Honoria penniless. Leslie
is characterized as a vapid, pompous fool; nevertheless,
the women in the novel exist at his mercy and that of
British property laws in the days before Caroline Norton.
Bury's treatment of Leslie is interesting,
considering the popular reception of Austen's portrait of
Mr. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. In effect, Bury is
turning the tables and asking that the reader laugh at a
man for his execution of a task usually left to women.
Bury has a penchant for hauling men out of the study and
giving us a look at how well they perform as brokers for
their daughters in the marriage market. In Robert
Leslie's case, the results are rather grim, but only hint
at Bury's in-depth examination of this theme in her 1842
novel, The Manoeuvering Mother, a deeply disturbing
response to Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
In anthologies and course curriculums, women writers
make up an average of 7 per cent of all writers taught.
Russ traces the constancy of this figure and the shifting
list of women that make up that small percentage, but
Austen is always on the list.54
Without discounting for

a moment the glorious eloquence of her prose, it seems
reasonable to consider why Austen slipped so effortlessly
into the canon when scores of her contemporaries
vanished. One explanation lies in the possibility that
the reading done by men differed so much from that of
women that there were in effect two Austensboth adept
at the craft of phrasing that was at once well-turned and
eloquent, but one percieved as always writing within the
confines of what Russ describes as "sunny conformity,"65
the other alive with a "comic spirit" which "transcends
her formal obedience, illuminatiing the silliness of that
Anthony Burgess finds her novels deficient in their
lack of "a strong male thrust."67 Even Watt was
compelled to deal with "that mean Jane Austen" and her
"old maid sensibility.1,68 Nabokov described her as a
kitten.69 These men fail to take note of what Nancy
Moore Goslee describes as Austen's biting analyses of the
marriage market"70 or Auerbach's description of
Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Auerbach writes
that Elizabeth Bennet assumes "power by marriage to it,"
and that "the novel arcs with her comic rise."71 Male
readers may have been laughing at something else. It
seems reasonable to assume that many male readers,

critics among them, did not get it. Bury made sure that
they did.
Almost thirty years after Austen's Mrs. Bennet
carried on "the business of her life,"72 which was to get
her daughters married, Lady Gertrude Wetheral takes on
the same task, pushing her five daughters with a degree
of ambition that Austen's character would have been loath
to consider. Sir John and Lady Wetheral had four lovely
daughters whose "forms were perfect, and their features
. . faultless," but when a fifth was born, Lady
Wetheral rejected her in part because she "loved an even
number: four daughters were not too alarming: five or
three [were] an indefinite half-vulgar fraction." At the
birth of Christobel, the fifth daughter, Lady Wetheral
remarks with regret that "the little animal looks
determined to live."73
"Visions of her daughters pairing off with curates
or lieutenants" haunt Lady Wetheral.74 Ever mindful of
the market, she insists that one daughter stay inside,
fearing that "the wind will give her that blue look which
I cannot endure." She insists that the young lady be fed
only chicken; a servant is told not to "vulgarise her
with nasty brown meats."75 The girls are brought up to
consider "wealth and station a balance to the weight of
the matrimonial misery," and their marriages reflect this

philosophy.76 At seventeen, the Wetheral's second
daughter, Isabel, marries Mr. Boscawen who is stout,
rich, and forty-five. Against her father's counsel,
Julia marries selfish, decrepid Lord Ennismore, "a man
perfectly disgusting, had he been unsupported by station
and wealth." Ennismore is inseparable from the mother
who maintains "dominion over the imbecile mind of her
son," and Julia eventually flees from the Ennismores to
the home of her friend, Penelope.77 Clara marries a
"violent and coarse fellow," Sir Foster Kerrison, a kind
of Darcy from Hell.78 After suffering much physical
abuse, she dies.
Like Austen's Mr. Bennet, Sir John Wetheral closets
himself in the study, making light of Lady Wetheral's
maneuverings, but Bury's character fights back. Made
monstrous by the demands of a culture that requires her
to see that her daughters marry well while berating her
for these efforts, Lady Wetheral retorts: "you thunder
blame from your study, yet never assist yourself in work
of so much importance.1,79 Eager to avoid what Poovey
describes as "the sad circumstance of uncourted
daughters,"80 Lady Wetheral considers "her daughter's
singlehood at seventeen years of age a severe blow upon
her matronly cares," and her fierce "maneuvering" is
indefensible.81 Even after Clara's death and Julia's

misery, Gertrude Wetheral insists that "All my daughters
have married splendidly."82 Bury describes the uneasy
peace of Isabel's marriage as she survives, perpetuating
powerlessness and manipulation, winning "his acquiescence
by her tears and gentle self-upbraiding."83 Bury writes:
the light-hearted girl who had quitted Wetheral
scarcely a twelvemonth, in smiles and joyous
anticipations, returned a matron in appearance,
grave and subdued in manner, and apparently
frightened into stillness by her husband's
stern observation.84
She was "no longer the sprightly, happy, madcap Isabel
Wetheral; her laugh had fled, and even the smiles which
used to pass in rapid succession over her bright face."
She says, "I am very quiet now, I believe: Mr. Boscawen
dislikes laughing ... I enjoyed laughing extreme-
ly ... I should like to laugh again, but there is
nothing laughable at Brierly."85 Indeed there is nothing
"laughable" in the entire novel. Dispossession and
entailment are not, Bury tells us, very funny after all.
Some of Bury's early descriptions in the novel
border on the humorousthe concern with the number of
daughters for instancebut the work takes shape as if
Bury changed her mind, unconsciously shifting to a point
of view from which she sees that the situation in which
Mrs. Bennet and Lady Wetheral find themselves is not an
amusing set of circumstances. "Even in our dreams,

writes Anne Gotlieb, "we still blame our mothers for the
choices our culture forces on us."86 As Bury's rejection
of the humorous potential of the portrayal takes hold,
the grotesque element of her depiction accelerates. Lady
Wetheral is Charlotte Bury's "hideous progeny," the
monster born of her frustration with her environment.
Elsewhere, Bury had proven that she could draw characters
who would make readers laugh. Her reluctance to make
Lady Wetheral the object of such derision constitutes a
refusal to let the culture off that easily. In effect,
her refusal forces the very questions she fails to
The Manoeuvring Mother is Pride and Prejudice
crossed with Psycho. In creating a Mrs. Bennet we cannot
laugh at, Charlotte Bury underlines the traffic in women
inextricably linked to their dependence on marrying well.
Equipped with the perishable assets of youth and beauty,
daughters were launched into what Bury called "the
lottery of life" where a few found happiness, a greater
number misery, still others a combination of both, and
the remainder were consigned to the ghetto of single
women.87 The absence of laughter in The Manoeuvring
Mother, culminating in Isabel's longing for that
laughter, reveals the tragedy of powerlessness and
isolation of women forced into competition.

Other novels follow the formula of girl meets boy;
girl meets another boy; girl breaks rules; girl gets hand
slapped by the patriarchy and dies in shame or returns to
the "God of our Fathers," and is awarded limited
participation in the rewards given to virtuous women.
The Wilfulness of Woman, published in 1844, describes the
unhappy experiences of two women: Harriet Erskine who
marries John Trelawney, and Lady Sarah Monteith, who weds
a "dismal general: many years her senior."88 After the
general complains that Lady Sarah has kept him waiting
for dinner, commenting that if he fails to dine at his
usual hour he "can never eat with appetite," he learns
that his wife has eloped with Captain Fermor.89 The
lovers assume the name of Smith and move to Florence,
where Lady Sarah grows tired of hiding from her past and
laments that "if he had quitted her to join society, a
hundred voices would welcome his return, but her path
would be in silent wretchedness for ever."90 Of
particular interest in this novel is Bury's treatment of
alcoholism in women and its relationship to "domestic
misery." After Harriet's husband deserts her, a
physician discovers her secret drinking habit. Convinced
that idleness is the problem, the doctor recommends that
she find employment. When Harriet leaves her idle life
behind, she recovers from her addiction.

The women in Bury's novels flirt; they maneuver;
they are divorced, disinherited, and ensnared; but they
laugh at the pompous vapid men who divorce, disinherit,
and ensnare them. Bury laughs with them and through them
at the men they must maneuver in order to survive. Her
lines are clearly drawn on the subject of what is funny
as well. Readers are not encouraged to laugh at women
put in perilous or impossible situations. Even as the
assets of women-~youth, beauty, virginity--are
perishable, those of men are not until they actually
perish. The parade of nearly dead dukes and senile
landed gentry goes on past women who survive by
strategies that include their laughter. And laughter is
power. The laughter of women is music, as illustrated by
the painting of contemporary American artist Linda
Ruffner-Russel1. In her painting, The Music of Women's
Laughter, a close look at the canvas splashed with bright
strokes of secondary colorspurple and orange and
greenare what appear to be veins of gold. Looking
still closer, one can read the names of women. To laugh,
Ruffner-Russel1 tells us, is to have one's name written
in gold, and as we "think back through our mothers" we
find in novels from Evelina to Eva Luna women who laughed
themselves to life, and as we hear the music of their

laughter, in bright patches of color, we see their names
and our own, written in gold.

1 Jane Austen, Northanqer Abbey (London: Franklin
Watts, 1971) 31.
2 Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English, For Her
Own Good: 150 Years of the Experts' Advice to Women (New
York: Doubleday, 1976) 125.
3 Ina Ferris, "Repositioning the Novel: Waverly and
the Genre of Fiction," Studies in Romanticism 28.2
(1989): 294-95.
4 Nancy Moore Goslee, "Witch or Pawn: Women in
Scott's Narrative Poetry," Romanticism and Feminism, ed.
Anne K. Mellor (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1988) 134.
5 Virginia Woolf, A Room of One1s Own (New York:
Harcourt, 1929) 53-54.
6 Bradford Keyes Mudge, Sara Coleridge: A Victorian
Daughter (New Haven: Yale UP, 1989) 61.
7 Regina Barreca Last Laughs: Perspectives on Women
and Comedy (New York: Gordon, 1988) 13.
8 Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in
the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth Century
Literary Imagination (New Haven: Yale UP, 1979) 72.
9 Nancy Walker, in "Ironic Autobiography: From The
Waterfall to The Handmaid's Tale," asserts that
beginning with Fanny Burney's Evelina, "women began to
write about women." She also discusses the tendency of
these novels to affirm rather than question "the values
of the culture." Last Laughs Perspectives on Women and
Comedy 205.
10 Terry Lovell, Consuming Fiction (New York:
Verso, 1987) 85.
11 Fay Weldon "Towards a Humorous View of the
Universe," Last Laughs, 311.
12 Lisa Merrill, "Feminist Humor: Rebellious and
Self-Affirming," Last Laughs 276.

13 In her essay, "Jane Austen: Irony and Authority"
(Last Laughs 60) Rachel M. Brownstein
describes "patriarchy's . wrong-headed police."
14 Reginia Gagnier, "Between Women: A Cross-Class
Analysis of Status and Anarchic Humor," Last Laughs 138.
15 Barreca 14.
16 Susan Ferrier, Marriage (New York: Virago, 1986)
17 Ferrier 94.
18 Judith Kegan Gardiner, "First English Novel:
Aphra Behn's Love Letters," Tulsa Studies in Women's
Literature 8.2 (1989) 201-222.
19 Charlotte Bury, Self-Indulgence: A Tale of the
Nineteenth Century (Edinburgh: Printed by Thomas Allan &
Company for G. R. Clarke, 1812) Volume II, 99.
20 Bury, Self-Indulgence Volume I, 120-121.
21 Bury, Se1f-Indu1gence Volume I, 165.
22 Bury, Self-Indulgence Volume II, 14-15.
23 Bury, Self-Indulgence Volume II, 86
24 Bury, Self-Indulgence Volume I, 28.
25 Bury, Self-Indulgence Volume I, 30.
26 Bury, Self-Indulgence Volume II, 124.
27 John A. Doyle, Memoirs and Correspondence of
Susan Ferrier (London: John Murray, 1898) 156.
28 Doyle 157.
29 Charlotte Bury, Conduct Is Fate (Edinburgh:
William Blackwood, 1822) Volume I, 14.
30 Joanna Russ, How to Suppress Women's Writing
(Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983) 7.
31 Bury, Conduct Is Fate Volume I, 75-76.
32 Bury, Conduct Is Fate Volume I, 84.

33 W. E. K. Anderson, The Journal of Sir Walter
Scott (Oxford: Clarendon, 1972) 97.
34 Charlotte Bury, The Exclusives (London: Henry
Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1830) Volume I, 217
35 Bury, The Exclusives Volume I, 94.
36 Bury, The Exclusives. Volume I, 253.
37 Bury, The Exclusives, Volume I, 270.
38 Bury, The Exclusives, Volume II , 143
39 Mary Poovey, The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer
(Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1984) 41.
40 Mary Cullinan, Susan Ferrier (Boston: Twayne
Publishers, 1984) 107.
41 See Caroline Norton, Caroline Norton's Defense
(Chicago: Academy, 1982)
42 Cullinan 39.
43 Charlotte Bury, Love (Philadelphia: Carey, Lea
and Blanchard, 1838) 87.
44 Rosa, Matthew The Silver Fork School: Novels of
Fashion Preceding Vanity Fair (New York: Columbia UP,
1936) 153-54.
45 Bury Love. 211.
46 Doyle 131.
47 These excerpts appear in the back pages of
another Bury NovelCharlotte Bury, The Manoeuverinq
Mother (London: Printed by F. Shoberl for Henry Colburn,
48 Poovey 44.
49 Charlotte Bury, The History of a Flirt (London:
Henry Colburn, 1841) Volume I, 9.
50 Poovey 243.
51 Bury, The History of a Flirt Volume I, 56.

52 Burv, The History of a Flirt Volume I, 268.
53 Burv. The History of a Flirt Volume II, 176.
54 Burv. The History of a Flirt Volume II, 168.
55 Bury, The History of a Flirt Volume II , 279-80
56 The epigraphs in Janet Todd's careful study,
Women's Friendship in Literature. (New York: Columbia
UP, 1980) are telling:
I covenant that your acquaintance be general; that
you admit no sworn confidante or intimate of your own
sex, no she-friend to screeen her affairs under your
countenance and tempt you to make trial of a mutural
Mirabell, hero of The Wav of the World
(1700) by William Congreve
My wife must have no other companion or friend but
her husband; I shall never be averse to your seeeing
company, but intimates I forbid; I shall not choose to
have my faults discussed between you and your friend.
Mr.Morgan, villain of Millenium Hall
(1762) by Sarah Scott and Barbara Montagu
57 Bury, The History of a Flirt Volume II, 302-308.
58 Judy Little, Comedy and the Woman Writer: Woolf,
Spark, and Feminism (Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1983) 19.
59 Charlotte Bury, Family Records: or The Two
Sisters (London: Saunders & Otley, 1841)
60 Denise Marshall, "Slaying the Angel and the
Patriarch: The Grinning Woolf," Last Laughs 164.
61 Bury, Conduct Is Fate Volume II, 102-103.
62 Little 59.
63 Charlotte Bury, The Disinherited and The Ensnared
(London: Printed by Samuel Bentley for Richard Bentley,
Successor to Henry Colburn, 1834)
64 Russ 79.

65 Russ 100.
66 Nina Auerbach, Romantic Imprisonment: Women and
Other Glorified Outcasts (New York: Columbia UP, 1986)
xvii .
67 Russ 33.
68 Ian Watt, The Rise of the Novel (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1957) 185.
69 Russ 126.
70 Nancy Moore Goslee, "Witch or Pawn: Women in
Scott's Narrative Poetry," Romanticism and Feminism, ed.
Anne K. Mellor (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1988) 115.
71 Auerbach 20.
72 Jane Austen, Pride and Preiudice fNew York:
Random, 1949) 5.
73 Bury, The Manoeuvrincr Mother Volume I, 2-4.
74 Bury, The Manoeuvring Mother Volume I, 11.
75 Bury, The Manoeuvring Mother Volume I, 14.
76 Bury, The Manoeuvring Mother Volume I, 166.
77 Bury, The Manoeuvring Mother Volume I, 112.
78 Bury, The Manoeuvring Mother Volume I, 184.
79 Bury, The Manoeuvring Mother Volume I, 166.
80 Poovey 13,
81 Bury, The Manoeuvring Mother Volume III , 7.
82 Bury, The Manoeuvring Mother Volume III , 51.
83 Bury, The Manoeuvring Mother Volume III , 209
84 Bury, The Manoeuvring Mother Volume I, 246.
85 Bury, The Manoeuvring Mother Volume I, 247.
86 Gilbert and Gubar 52.

87 Charlote Bury, The Wilfulness of Woman (London
Henry Colburn, 1844) Volume II, 174.
88 Bury. The Wilfulness of Woman Volume I, 203.
89 Bury, The Wilfulness of Woman Volume I, 251.
90 Bury, The Wilfulness of Woman Volume II , 9.

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