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Thesis title: A Study of the Life and Works of Baroness Blaze de Bury: A Counter-narrative of Women–s Involvement in Nineteenth Century European International Politics
Start year: 2015
This thesis presents evidence of female participation in the nineteenth-century discourses on (trans)cultural identity in the context of European international politics using the case study of the writer Baroness Marie Pauline Rose Blaze de Bury (1813?–1894). The aim is to provide a counter-narrative of women’s political engagement in the nineteenth century based on a female recuperative analysis of both Blaze de Bury’s life and works. Her negotiations with the dominant hegemonic gender ideology of the time will be examined through both textual and exploratory archival approaches. Blaze de Bury’s texts will be framed by historical literary and non-literary contexts that describe the European political atmosphere. Particular focus will lie on evaluating perceived sex and nationality of authorship based on pseudonymous, anonymous, and personal publication and the potential for trans-gender and trans-national/cultural alteration. Blaze de Bury’s political agency as a writer will then be linked to her first-hand political agency through archival work. The focus lies on four of Blaze de Bury’s mid-nineteenth-century texts: Mildred Vernon: A Tale of Parisian Life in the Last Days of the Monarchy (1848), Léonie Vermont: A Story of the Present Time (1849), Germania: its Courts, Camps and People (1850), and Falkenburg: A Tale of the Rhine (1851). These texts will be analyzed concentrating on Blaze de Bury’s self-proclaimed mission of increased transcultural European (political) understanding. It will be examined, how, in a time of British global Empire, Blaze de Bury drew on this discourse to discuss perceived homogeneity and difference within Europe. Furthermore, Blaze de Bury’s textual strategies of genre hybridity, gender hybrid intertextuality, and multilingualism (including translation), will be discussed in this European transcultural context. Blaze de Bury is an important figure to study, not only as a writer written out of the canon but also as a female writer of ‘unfeminine’ international politics.