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Empowering the feminine [electronic resource] : the narratives of Mary Robinson, Jane West, and Amelia Opie, 1796-1812 /
Eleanor Ty.
imprint
Toronto ; Buffalo : University of Toronto Press, c1998.
description
x, 224 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0802043623 (acid-free paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Toronto ; Buffalo : University of Toronto Press, c1998.
isbn
0802043623 (acid-free paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
10502975
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1999-09:
Interest in the fiction produced by women in Britain during the period of its wars with revolutionary and imperial France has greatly increased since the groundbreaking and indispensable work of Marilyn Butler (Jane Austen and the War of Ideas, CH, Mar'76) and Gary Kelly (Women, Writing, and Revolution, 1993). Ty (Wilfrid Laurier Univ.), author of a study of five Jacobin novelists (Unsex'd Revolutionaries, CH, Mar'94), here addresses the construction of femininity in three women novelists of less radical tendency. Ty reads her texts through modern lenses--Jacques Lacan, Julia Kristeva, Luce Irigarary--sometimes to illuminating effect (especially in her readings of Robinson), but equally often at the expense of carefully nuanced history (for instance, this reviewer was disappointed to find the complex late-18th-century terms "sense" and "sensibility" reduced to masculine reason and the "abjected other" of feminine passion--precisely the false binary that Jane West, and Jane Austen for that matter, argue against). Although this is a book for historical specialists (who else reads West and Opie?), those very specialists are the readers most likely to be put off by its insufficiently historical critical approach. D. L. Patey; Smith College
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 1999
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Summaries
Description for Reader
Mary Robinson, a fantastic beauty and popular actress, and once lover of the Prince of Wales, received the epithet 'the English Sappho' for her lyric verse. Amelia Opie, a member of the fashionable literary society and later a Quaker, included amongst her friends Sydney Smith, Byron, and Scott, and reputedly refused Godwin's marriage proposal out of admiration for Mary Wollstonecraft. Jane West, who tended her household and dairy while writing prolifically to support her children, was in direct opposition to the radically feminist ideas preceding her. These authors, each from different ideological and social backgrounds, all grappled with a desire for empowerment. Writing in an atmosphere hardened towards reform in response to the French revolution's upheavals, these women focus their narratives on typically feminine attitudes - docility, maternal feeling, heightened sensibility (that key word of the period). Their focus invested these attitudes with new meaning, making supposed female weaknesses potentially active forces for social change. Eleanor Ty's convincing argument, arrived at through close readings of ten key texts, is an important addition to the recent spate of publications which bring to the fore neglected women authors whose fascinating lives and works greatly enrich our understanding of the late eighteenth century and British Romanticism.
Description for Reader
Mary Robinson, a fantastic beauty and popular actress, and once lover of the Prince of Wales, received the epithet 'the English Sappho' for her lyric verse. Amelia Opie, a member of the fashionable literary society and later a Quaker, included amongst her friends Sydney Smith, Byron, and Scott, and reputedly refused Godwin's marriage proposal out of admiration for Mary Wollstonecraft. Jane West, who tended her household and dairy while writing prolifically to support her children, was in direct opposition to the radically feminist ideas preceding her. These authors, each from different ideological and social backgrounds, all grappled with a desire for empowerment. Writing in an atmosphere hardened towards reform in response to the French revolution's upheavals, these women focus their narratives on typically feminine attitudes - docility, maternal feeling, heightened sensibility (that key word of the period). Their focus invested these attitudes with new meaning, making supposed female weaknesses potentially active forces for social change.Eleanor Ty's convincing argument, arrived at through close readings of ten key texts, is an important addition to the recent spate of publications which bring to the fore neglected women authors whose fascinating lives and works greatly enrich our understanding of the late eighteenth century and British Romanticism.
Table of Contents
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introductionp. 3
Mary Robinson (1758-1800)p. 21
Engendering a Female Subject: Mary Robinson's (Re) Presentations of the Selfp. 23
Questioning Nature's Mould: Gender Displacement in Robinson's Walsinghamp. 42
Fathers as Monsters of Deceit: Robinson's Domestic Criticism in The False Friendp. 57
Recasting Exquisite Sensibility: Robinson's The Natural Daughterp. 72
Jane West (1758-1852)p. 85
Abjection and the Necessity of the Other: West's Feminine Ideals in A Gossip's Storyp. 87
Politicizing the Domestic: The Mother's Seduction in West's A Tale of the Timesp. 101
Displaying Hysterical Bodies: Philosophists in West's The Infidel Fatherp. 116
Amelia Opie (1769-1853)p. 131
Re-scripting the Tale of the Fallen Woman: Opie's The Father and Daughterp. 133
The Curtain between the Heart and Maternal Affection: Theory and the Mother and Daughter in Opie's Adeline Mowbrayp. 145
Not a Simple Moral Tale: Maternal Anxieties and Female Desire in Opie's Temperp. 161
Afterwordp. 178
Notesp. 185
Indexp. 219
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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