Maria Marchidanu


Research title: Between the Self and the Public Other: Female Identity from Enlightenment Philosophy to Nineteenth Century Women's Writing

Research Summary

My thesis re-contours the Scottish literary landscape by analysing individual Scottish women writers’ depiction of female identity in a comparative critical analysis with Enlightenment texts. My research focuses primarily on the novels of Mary Brunton (1778-1818) and Susan Ferrier (1782-1854). My reading of each writer emphasises the influence of the Enlightenment upon Scottish female education, domesticity, and social roles, as well as the novelists’ distinct contribution to literary genres and philosophical inquiry. My research demonstrates that the exploration of freedom of expression as defined within the eighteenth-century context is juxtaposed with the ensuing literary emphasis upon self-liberation.

By engaging with their work in a comparative way, my research reflects the previously underexamined voice of female novelists as Scottish literary figures and nineteenth-century contributors to the development of the novel. The methodology used involves a critical analysis of the representation of the individual in women’s fiction through the lens of Enlightenment writings and literary developments such as Romanticism and domestic fiction. The thesis considers the writers’ role as authors in nineteenth-century Scotland, their intended audience, their reception in the periodical press, and their redefinition of female virtue.


- You Don’t Look British, editor, writer, and project coordinator (Aberdeenshire: Lumphanan Press, 2018)

- The Body: An Existentialist Instrument in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped, in eSharp, Issue 25, Volume 2: Rise and Fall (2017)

- ‘Within Glasgow, Within Me …’, in Tip Tap Flat: A View of Glasgow, edited by Henry Bell and Louise Welsh (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2012)


- Authority, Memory, Transgression: Trends in Comparative Literature and Translation Studies Postgraduate Conference, University of Glasgow (2017)

- ‘Women, Place and Belonging Symposium, University of Glasgow (2017)

Additional Information


General Editor of eSharp, Issue 28 ‘Estrangement and Reconciliation’
Peer Wellbeing Supporter, College of Arts, University of Glasgow (2019-2020)


Mary G Ross Prize (2017)
Alexander Scott Prize (2016)
Neil Munro Medal (2016)
Ewing Prize (2013)