In the eighteenth century, critics of capitalism denounced the growth of luxury and effeminacy; supporters applauded the increase of refinement and the improved status of women. This pioneering study explores the way the association of commerce and femininity permeated cultural production. It looks at the first use of a female author as an icon of modernity in the Athenian Mercury, and reappraises works by Elizabeth Singer Rowe, Mandeville, Defoe, Pope and Elizabeth Carter. Samuel Richardson's novels represent the culmination of the English debate, while contemporary essays by David Hume move towards a fully-fledged enlightenment theory of feminization.
Introduction: ‘A Capital Branch of the History of Man * Coffee and Sexual Alchemy * The Athenian Mercury and the Pindarick Lady * The South Sea Bubble and the Resurgence of Misogyny: Cato, Mandeville and Defoe * Elizabeth Carter in Popes Garden * Out of the Closet: Richardson and the Female Pen * The Cult of Literary Women * Effeminacy and the Martial Spirit: the Scottish Debate * The Enlightenment Theory of Feminisation * The Triumph of the Bluestockings * Postscript: From Feminisation to Feminism? * Index
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