Love in the Time of Revolution: Transatlantic Literary Radicalism and Historical Change, 1793-1818

Love in the Time of Revolution: Transatlantic Literary Radicalism and Historical Change, 1793-1818

by Andrew Cayton
     
 

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In 1798, English essayist and novelist William Godwin ignited a transatlantic scandal with Memoirs of the Author of "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman." Most controversial were the details of the romantic liaisons of Godwin's wife, Mary Wollstonecraft, with both American Gilbert Imlay and Godwin himself. Wollstonecraft's life and writings became central to a…  See more details below

Overview

In 1798, English essayist and novelist William Godwin ignited a transatlantic scandal with Memoirs of the Author of "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman." Most controversial were the details of the romantic liaisons of Godwin's wife, Mary Wollstonecraft, with both American Gilbert Imlay and Godwin himself. Wollstonecraft's life and writings became central to a continuing discussion about love's place in human society. Literary radicals argued that the cultivation of intense friendship could lead to the renovation of social and political institutions, whereas others maintained that these freethinkers were indulging their own desires with a disregard for stability and higher authority. Through correspondence and novels, Andrew Cayton finds an ideal lens to view authors, characters, and readers all debating love's power to alter men and women in the world around them.
Cayton argues for Wollstonecraft's and Godwin's enduring influence on fiction published in Great Britain and the United States and explores Mary Godwin Shelley's endeavors to sustain her mother's faith in romantic love as an engine of social change.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A well-written imaginative re-creation, based on historical research, of the motives, thoughts, arguments, and interrelationships of important British and American radicals.--American Historical Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781469607504
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
06/10/2013
Series:
Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
A sophisticated history of women and men who recognized fresh potentials in heterosexual love in a revolutionary age. Cayton's is a highly original vision of the familiar loves of Wollstonecraft, Imlay, and Godwin above all, but of their children and contemporaries, too, set in transatlantic perspective.--G.J. Barker-Benfield, State University of New York, Albany

Meet the Author

Andrew Cayton, University Distinguished Professor of History at Miami University, is co-author, with Fred Anderson, of The Dominion of War: Empire and Liberty in North America, 1500-2000.

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