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Sylvia Bordoni (University of Nottingham), Parodying Corinne: Mrs Foster's The Corinna of England

This article analyses Foster's The Corinna of England (1809) in relation to StaŽl's famous Corinne, or Italy (1807). The Corinna of England is one of the most conservative English reactions to StaŽl''s novel. It is a parody of Corinne which ridicules the character of the Italian improvisatrice and demonstrates the implausibility of the existence of such a character in nineteenth-century English society. Foster's novel starkly contrasts the reality of English provincial life with an idealised depiction of Italian society. The Corinna validates StaŽl''s own dichotomy of an artistically liberating Italy and a conservative domestic Britain. By depicting the English equivalent of Corinne as a caricature, Foster confirms the geographical and cultural specificity of StaŽl''s heroine and the impossibility of replicating such a character in English society.
At the same time, Foster warns young English women of the dangers of novels such as Corinne. The popularity of StaŽl''s novel had made the character of the improvisatrice very fashionable, but Foster's heroine is made to seem absurd when placed in the context of English conservatism and domesticity and is designed to discourage the women of England from either nurturing or displaying such talents.
Where Foster follows de StaŽl''s most closely is in her pessimistic ending which depicts the death of the Corinna of England and the triumph of the domestic and timid heroine

 

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