Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender, and Sentimentality in the 1790s--Wollstonecraft, Radcliffe, Burney, Austen

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University of Chicago Press, 09.03.2009 - 256 Seiten
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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Inhalt

The Age of Chivalry and the Crisis of Gender
2
The Distinction of the Sexes The Vindications
24
Embodying the Sentiments Mary and The Wrongs of Woman
48
Less than Man and More than Woman The Romance of the Forest
74
The Sex of Suffering The Mysteries of Udolpho
96
Losing the Mother in the Judge The Italian
118
Statues Idiots Automatons Camilla
142
Vindicating the Wrongs of Woman The Wanderer
166
Not at all what a man should be Remaking English Manhood in Emma
192
Notes
206
Index
234
Urheberrecht

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Seite xvi - I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators, has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished for ever.
Seite xvi - Little did I dream, when she added titles of veneration to those of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in that bosom; little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honour and of cavaliers. I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult.
Seite xvi - Never, never more, shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom. The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise is gone.
Seite 4 - ... the abominable scene of 1789 which I was describing did draw tears from me and wetted my paper. These tears came again into my eyes almost as often as I looked at the description. They may again.
Seite 7 - Taught her to cherish still, in either eye, Of tender tears a plentiful supply, And pour them in the brooks that babbled by ; Taught...

Über den Autor (2009)

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.

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