Dissertation Corner with Amy Langton: Eighteenth-Century Women Writers

In this week’s dissertation corner, Amy Langton tells us about her project on the influence of war, poverty and slavery on poetry in eighteenth-century romantic female writers.

What is your dissertation about?

In my dissertation, I’m looking at four female poets from the eighteenth-century and the way they use their poetry in order to make a commentary on the social issues of the day, specifically war, poverty and slavery, while also taking into account the way their roles as women made an influence on what they were writing.

How did you choose the texts for the project?

It was really hard actually because I swapped so many authors to different authors, and so had to change texts! However, eventually after looking at many different poems, I chose ones that fitted the best into the issues I was looking at and had the most to work with.

Has your dissertation changed much since submitting your proposal?

A lot! Like I said I went through many authors and texts, and went from three poets to four just recently.

What interests you about this topic?

I love poetry, anyway, it’s one of my favourite forms but after doing an eighteenth-century module, I became incredibly interested in the romantic movement. Specifically, apart from loving the ‘big six’, the male writers, I felt I enjoyed poetry and writing by females from this time the most, as they would write on many important issues of the society in which they were living.

What have you enjoyed most and what have you struggled most with?

I have loved the research. Finding out more about these women specifically, their lives and their roles as writers. I’ve struggled the most with finding the motivation to sit down and actually write my dissertation. Although I have the notes and the plans, to sit and write it is quite daunting, but once I get past that wall I find I really enjoy writing it.

What has it been like working closely with an academic supervisor?

Having an academic supervisor to be able to go to has been extremely helpful: Julie has helped me expand my ideas, cleared any confusion, helped me overcome struggles and mostly provided me with secondary texts that I hadn’t previously come across that have helped immensely. I’ve really enjoyed it so far.