Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender and Sentimentality in the 1790s / Edition 2

Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender and Sentimentality in the 1790s / Edition 2

by Claudia L. Johnson, Jane Austen, Fanny Burney, Ann Radcliffe
     
 

ISBN-10: 0226401847

ISBN-13: 9780226401843

Pub. Date: 06/28/1995

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

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…  See more details below

Overview

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."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226401843
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
06/28/1995
Series:
Women in Culture and Society Series Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction: The Age of Chivalry and the Crisis of Gender1
Pt. 1Mary Wollstonecraft
1The Distinction of the Sexes: The Vindications23
2Embodying the Sentiments: Mary and The Wrongs of Woman47
Pt. 2Ann Radcliffe
3Less than Man and More than Woman: The Romance of the Forest73
4The Sex of Suffering: The Mysteries of Udolpho95
5Losing the Mother in the Judge: The Italian117
Pt. 3Frances Burney
6Statues, Idiots, Automatons: Camilla141
7Vindicating the Wrongs of Woman: The Wanderer165
Afterword: Jane Austen
"Not at all what a man should be!": Remaking English Manhood in Emma191
Notes205
Index233

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