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Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender & Sentimentality in the 1790s

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Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender & Sentimentality in the 1790s Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the wake of the French Revolution, Edmund Burke argued that civil order depended upon nurturing the sensibility of men—upon the masculine cultivation of traditionally feminine qualities such as sentiment, tenderness, veneration, awe, gratitude, and even prejudice. Writers as diverse as Sterne, Goldsmith, Burke, and Rousseau were politically motivated to represent authority figures as men of feeling, but denied women comparable authority by representing their feelings as inferior, pathological, or criminal. Focusing on Mary Wollstonecraft, Ann Radcliffe, Frances Burney, and Jane Austen, whose popular works culminate and assail this tradition, Claudia L. Johnson examines the legacy male sentimentality left for women of various political persuasions.

Demonstrating the interrelationships among politics, gender, and feeling in the fiction of this period, Johnson provides detailed readings of Wollstonecraft, Radcliffe, and Burney, and treats the qualities that were once thought to mar their work—grotesqueness, strain, and excess—as indices of ideological conflict and as strategies of representation during a period of profound political conflict. She maintains that the reactionary reassertion of male sentimentality as a political duty displaced customary gender roles, rendering women, in Wollstonecraft's words, "equivocal beings."

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. [205]-231) and index.

About the Author

Claudia L. Johnson is professor of English at Princeton University and the author of Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Catharine R. Stimpson

Acknowledgments

Abbreviations

Introduction: The Age of Chivalry and the Crisis of Gender

Pt. 1: Mary Wollstonecraft

1: The Distinction of the Sexes: The Vindications

2: Embodying the Sentiments: Mary and The Wrongs of Woman

Pt. 2: Ann Radcliffe

3: Less than Man and More than Woman: The Romance of the Forest

4: The Sex of Suffering: The Mysteries of Udolpho

5: Losing the Mother in the Judge: The Italian

Pt. 3: Frances Burney

6: Statues, Idiots, Automatons: Camilla

7: Vindicating the Wrongs of Woman: The Wanderer

Afterword: Jane Austen "Not at all what a man should be!": Remaking English Manhood in Emma

Notes

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226401843
Author:
Johnson, Claudia L.
Author:
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft
Author:
Austen, Jane
Author:
Wollstonecraft, Mary
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Location:
Chicago
Subject:
General
Subject:
History
Subject:
Authorship
Subject:
English fiction
Subject:
Women and literature
Subject:
Politics and literature
Subject:
Sentimentalism in literature
Subject:
Sex role in literature
Subject:
Psychological fiction, English
Subject:
Political fiction, English
Subject:
Femininity in literature.
Subject:
General Language Arts & Disciplines
Subject:
English fiction -- 18th century.
Subject:
Reference-Words Phrases and Language
Edition Description:
1
Series:
Women in Culture and Society Series
Series Volume:
1267
Publication Date:
19950631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in
Age Level:
General Language Arts & Disciplines

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