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ANGELS WHO STEPPED OUTSIDE THEIR HOUSES: “AMERICAN TRUE WOMANHOOD” AND NINETEENTH-CENTURY (TRANS)NATIONALISMS

Abstract
“Angels who Stepped Outside their Houses” examines the fashioning of a gendered white American middle-class Protestant subject called the “American true woman” as a fitting representation of the emerging new American nation, as reflected in the writings of white American women authors from the late eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. Locating the formation of this identity on a transnational plane, this work argues that in their myriad texts, these women authors reveal the significant role that imperial Britain and the non-national/not-yet-national colonial Orient played in the (de/)construction/(de/)centering of American true womanhood. For, in the face of a particular Englishness and an Oriental otherness that these texts produce, American true women become interstitial and ambivalent subjects.
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