Author Biography

Linda Van Netten Blimke is an Assistant Professor of English at Concordia University of Edmonton and specializes in the literature of the long eighteenth century, with a particular focus on British women’s non-fictional travel writing. Her monograph (currently in progress) examines the dynamic relationship between eighteenth-century British women’s sentimental travel narratives and political controversy.


This paper explores the political function of Elizabeth Montagu’s Berkshire estate in travel writer Mary Morgan’s 1795 publication A Tour to Milford Haven, in the Year 1791. The travelogue is politically invested both in problematizing radical ideologies and the British government’s wartime policies and in providing an alternative model of governance based on the relational leadership found within Montagu’s Sandleford community. Of central importance to Morgan’s political argument is the contrast she creates between the socioeconomic philosophies manifest in Montagu’s perfectly ordered estate in Berkshire and in the Duke of Marlborough’s imposing palace in Oxfordshire. Whereas Montagu’s relational approach to leadership results in a profoundly peaceful and productive community bound by loyalty rather than by fear, the Duke of Marlborough’s authoritarian approach to power ultimately creates detachment and engenders disillusionment. Her juxtaposition of the two estates subtly suggests both the need and a plan for the reform of Britain’s leadership and political practices that incorporates the communitarian principles modeled in Montagu’s community.


Travel writing, Elizabeth Montagu, Mary Morgan, women and politics, long eighteenth century, British women writers, Anti-Jacobin literature.