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The Grammar of Empire in Eighteenth-Century British Writing


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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Scripting identity?: English language and literacy instruction in the Highlands and the strange case of Alexander MacDonald; 2. 'A grammarians regard to the genius of our tongue': Johnson's Dictionary, imperial grammar and the customary national language; 3. Women, Celts and hollow voices: Tobias Smollett's brokering of Anglo-British linguistic identities; 4. The figure of the nation: polite language and its originary other in Adam Smith's and Hugh Blair's Lectures in Rhetoric and Belles Lettres; 5. 'A translator without originals': William Shaw's Scots Gaelic and the dialectic of (linguistic) empire; Epilogue: Jane Austen's language and the strangeness at home in the center.

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This study, first published in 2000, examines the role of language as an instrument of empire in eighteenth-century British literature.


"...a well-researched and intellectually adroit study...Sorensen's book presents a crucial realignment of the relation of Scottish Studies to the study of English Literature in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries." SiR "...the entire study offers original insight into the processes by which language and identity interact...Sorensen combines entertaining examples with rigorous scholarship to demonstrate how Gaelic became the language of English nationalism...these accomplishments distinguish Sorensen's study as one of the broadest in scope and best informed of recent investigations into the function of Austen's work in the empire, and of the function of the empire in Austen." JASNA News "The Grammar of Empire is a substantial addition to current discussion of the generative role of Scottish writing in the production of British national identity. It is an ambitious book..." Eighteenth-Century Scotland "The Grammar of Empire is well positioned to generate discussion in the years to come." Albion

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