Adapting the Risorgimento: Ideas of Liberal Nationhood in L. M. Spooner's Country Landlords (1860)

Rita Singer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For the Welsh middle classes, the 1850s were defined by a continuous struggle against English stereotypes that imagined Wales as a nation of promiscuous drunkards, incapable of self-rule and a burden for Britain. Whereas the Welsh press aggressively rebuffed such frequent accusations as soon as they sprung up, it took another 10 years before anglophone literature in Wales began to challenge Anglocentric perceptions of the Welsh nation. Louisa Matilda Spooner was one of the first novelists who rejected the continued marginalization of Wales owing to its geographical distance from London, Britain's centre of art, commerce and politics. In her second work, Country Landlords (1860), she explores how liberalism, philanthropy and Giuseppe Mazzini's republicanism form ideal prerequisites for Welsh squires. Under these circumstances, Welshness turns into a facet of Britishness because the ideal landlord in Wales fiercely defends his Welsh heritage and manages his property independently while remaining loyal to the union state.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)466-481
Number of pages16
JournalWomen's Writing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • women's writing
  • Wales
  • Welsh writing in English
  • Nineteenth-century Novel
  • Historic Fiction
  • Liberalism
  • philantropy


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