English Feminists and Their Opponents in the 1790s: Unsex'd and Proper Females

Manchester University Press, 2002 - 239 pages
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Examining what 16 British women, radical and conservative, famous and notorious, wrote about their sex in the 1790s, this text offers a comprehensive survey of what women thought about love, sexual desire, women as victims, marriage, separate spheres and engagement in work, politics and society, gender, female abilities, sensibility and genius. It investigates how contemporary reviewers divided these writers into unsex'd and proper as well as the issue of whether they attempted to exclude women from certain kinds of writing. Revealing the depth of female complaint, William Stafford contends that women did not passively submit, conservative and radical alike, but sought to extend their sphere of activity, to reform men, challenge gender stereotypes and propose that a woman should be a self for herself and her God, rather than for her husband. Texts studied include material by Wollstonecraft, Hays, Macaulay, Wakefield, Edgeworth and More; historical writings by Williams; and prose fiction by Robinson, Radcliffe, Inchbald, Fenwick, Smith, West, Hamilton and Burne.

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Table des matières

Our narratives about them
women as victims
Love marriage and the family
Separate spheres?
fashioning a self
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À propos de l'auteur (2002)

William Edgar Stafford was born in Hutchinson, Kansas on January 17, 1914. He received a B.A. in 1937 and a master's degree in English in 1947 from the University of Kansas and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1954. During the Second World War, he was a conscientious objector and worked in the civilian public service camps. He wrote about this experience in the prose memoir Down in My Heart, which was published in 1947. He taught at Lewis and Clark College from 1948 until his retirement in 1980. During his lifetime, he published more than sixty-five volumes of poetry and prose including The Rescued Year, Stories That Could Be True: New and Collected Poems, Writing the Australian Crawl: Views on the Writer's Vocation, and An Oregon Message. He received several awards including a Shelley Memorial Award, a Western States Lifetime Achievement Award in Poetry, and the National Book Award in 1963 for Traveling Through the Dark. In 1970, he was the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (a position currently known as the Poet Laureate). He died on August 28, 1993.

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