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Items tagged with 'Mary Wollstonecraft'

Article: ‘The bounds of female reach’

The Birmingham-based novelist Catherine Hutton (1756–1846) was acknowledged in the Monthly Magazine for 1821 as one of ‘twenty-four ladies of pre-eminent talents as writers in various departments of literature and philosophy’. Her work is little read or discussed these days, but offers some fascinating possibilities for research into women’s writing and narratives of travel. This chapter explores how Hutton’s frequent visits to Wales from the 1780s, recorded in travel journals, provided both material and form for her later novels. Welsh landscapes and Welsh culture are often figured in her fiction as spaces of possibility and freedom for women, and are used, in terms that owe much to the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft, to critique the constraints of contemporary urban society. Continue reading

Article: Making Space for Wollstonecraft

In 1798, Mary Barker published her only known novel, A Welsh Story, which follows members of two Glamorganshire families through courtships to marriage and parenthood. Largely forgotten today, Barker was good friends with Robert Southey, collaborated with Wordsworth to publish Lines Addressed to a Noble Lord (1815) an attack on Byron and lived amongst the Lake Poets for much of the early nineteenth century. Reading A Welsh Story alongside Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) I argue here that Barker altered the form of Wales-related Romantic novels and utilised the radical potential which the imagined space of Wales offered her in order to create a fictionalised vision of Wollstonecraft’s depictions of, and idealistic hopes for, British society. Continue reading

Review: Teresa Barnard (ed.), British Women and the Intellectual World in the Long Eighteenth Century (rev.)

In her excellent essay on the dramatist Joanna Baillie, Louise Duckling quotes Lord Byron reflecting on Voltaire’s assertion that ‘“the composition of a tragedy required testicles”—If this be true’, Byron writes, ‘Lord knows what Joanna … Continue reading

Review: Fiona Price, Reinventing Liberty (rev.)

I began reading Reinventing Liberty in the weeks leading up Britain’s Brexit vote in June 2016; the timing was uncanny. Price’s impressive monograph focuses on the concept of national identity as it relates to commerce … Continue reading

Article: ‘The Common Gifts of Heaven’

Amy E. Weldon discusses the emerging animal rights movement of the long eighteenth century and the benefits of didacticism in the emerging genre of children’s literature. Examining the moral tenor of Anna Letitia Barbauld’s ‘The Mouse’s Petition’ and ‘The Caterpillar’ with respect to writing on children and morality by her contemporaries, Mary Wollstonecraft and Alexander Pope, the article charts the dissenting underpinnings of both the anti-slavery and anti-animal cruelty movements. It argues that both the language of sensibility and Christian moral education (which calls for love and mercy) could be effected through literature and taught through the presence of animal characters in Barbauld’s writing. Barbauld’s construction of clemency in the domestic war against animals, whether mice or caterpillars, speaks to the empathy possible on an international scale where widespread clemency could lead to the reconfiguration of existing political orders. Signposting the real problem of animal cruelty in eighteenth-century Britain in entertainments such as horse and bull-baiting, Barbauld’s writing can be seen as a point of intersection between Christian ideology and middle-class moral education. Ultimately, this article argues that the Dissenters’ moral and philosophical beliefs harmonise with the animal rights movement. Continue reading

Review: Comitini, Vocational Philanthropy and British Women’s Writing (rev.)

Didactic writing seldom sets the modern pulse racing, and it is a brave critic who sets out to concentrate on literature which explicitly aims to improve the morals of its readers. From a historical distance, … Continue reading

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