In November of 1795, after William Godwin requested a sketch of Mary Hays’ life, she arrived at the idea of Memoirs of Emma Courtney. Godwin followed up his request with a “hint” that a fictional exploration of the painful experience she had undergone in her relationship with William Frend might help her to come to terms with it. It was to be an “instructive rather than self indulgent” work. The resulting novel is one of the most interesting and important explorations of gender-related issues of the time. Emma is exposed to a series of situations—motherlessness, orphanhood, poverty, dependence, and more—which encourage her to reflect “on the inequalities of society, the source of every misery and vice, and on the peculiar disadvanteges of my sex.” The novel quickly became viewed as “a scandalous disrobing in public” but it has endured as much on the basis of its readability as on its pointed social commentary.
The 18th century was a wealth of knowledge, exploration and rapidly growing technology and expanding record-keeping made possible by advances in the printing press. In its determination to preserve the century of revolution, Gale initiated a revolution of its own: digitization of epic proportions to preserve these invaluable works in the largest archive of its kind. Now for the first time these high-quality digital copies of original 18th century manuscripts are available in print, making them highly accessible to libraries, undergraduate students, and independent scholars. Western literary study flows out of eighteenth-century works by Alexander Pope, Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding, Frances Burney, Denis Diderot, Johann Gottfried Herder, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and others. Experience the birth of the modern novel, or compare the development of language using dictionaries and grammar discourses. ++++ The below data was compiled from various identification fields in the bibliographic record of this title. This data is provided as an additional tool in helping to insure edition identification: ++++ British Library T114712 London: printed for G. G. and J. Robinson, 1796. 2v.; 12°
Enlarging the Canon of the Mary Wollstonecraft Literary-philosophical Circle
Author: Helena Bergmann
Category: Literary Criticism
Mary Hays' first novel is made subject to a close reading giving the reader evidence of the author's perception of an enlightened future society which allows men and women to live in companionship and promoting the idea of increased female education.
Mary Hays (1759-1843) is often best remembered for her early revolutionary novels The Memoirs of Emma Courtney and The Victim of Prejudice. In this collection, however, Gina Luria Walker reveals the extraordinary range of Hays’s oeuvre. The selections are mainly from Hays’s non-fiction writings, including letters, life-writing, political commentary, and essays. The extracts demonstrate her importance as an advanced and innovative thinker, philosophical commentator, and writer of deliberately experimental fiction. This Broadview edition includes a critical introduction and full annotation. Texts by numerous other writers are interleaved chronologically with Hays’s writings to illustrate her idiosyncratic intellectual genealogy, how her understanding modulated over time, and the multiple ways in which she influenced and was influenced by the most significant issues and figures of her age.
Romanticism has often been associated with the mode of lyric, or otherwise confined within mainstream genres. As a result, we have neglected the sheer diversity and generic hybridity of a literature that ranged from the Gothic novel to the national tale, from monthly periodicals to fictionalized autobiography. In this volume leading scholars of the period explore the ways in which the Romantics developed genre from a taxonomical given into a cultural category, so as to make it the scene of an ongoing struggle between fixed norms and new initiatives. Focusing on non-canonical writers (such as Thelwall, Godwin and the novelists of the 1790s), or placing authors such as Wordsworth and Byron in a non-canonical context, these essays explore the psychic and social politics of genre from a variety of theoretical perspectives, while the introduction looks at how genre itself was rethought by Romantic criticism.
Disguise and Female Identity in Eighteenth-century Fictions by Women
Author: Catherine Craft-Fairchild
Publisher: Penn State Press
Category: Literary Criticism
Terry Castle's recent study of masquerade follows Bakhtin's analysis of the carnivalesque to conclude that, for women, masquerade offered exciting possibilities for social and sexual freedom. Castle's interpretation conforms to the fears expressed by male writers during the period&—Addison, Steele, and Fielding all insisted that masquerade allowed women to usurp the privileges of men. Female authors, however, often mistrusted these claims, perceiving that masquerade's apparent freedoms were frequently nothing more than sophisticated forms of oppression. Catherine Craft-Fairchild's work provides a useful corrective to Castle's treatment of masquerade. She argues that, in fictions by Aphra Behn, Mary Davys, Eliza Haywood, Elizabeth Inchbald, and Frances Burney, masquerade is double-sided. It is represented in some cases as a disempowering capitulation to patriarchal strictures that posit female subordination. Often within the same text, however, masquerade is also depicted as an empowering defiance of the dominant norms for female behavior. Heroines who attempt to separate themselves from the image of womanhood they consciously construct escape victimization. In both cases, masquerade is the condition of femininity: gender in the woman's novel is constructed rather than essential. Craft-Fairchild examines the guises in which womanhood appears, analyzing the ways in which women writers both construct and deconstruct eighteenth-century cultural conceptions of femininity. She offers a careful and engaging textual analysis of both canonical and noncanonical eighteenth-century texts, thereby setting lesser-read fictions into a critical dialogue with more widely known novels. Detailed readings are informed throughout by the ideas of current feminist theorists, including Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva, Mary Ann Doane, and Kaja Silverman. Instead of assuming that fictions about women were based on biological fact, Craft-Fairchild stresses the opposite: the domestic novel itself constructs the domestic woman.
Using historical and feminist psycho-linguistic studies as a base, Ty explores some of the complexities encountered in the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Hays, Helen Maria Williams, Elizabeth Inchbald, and Charlotte Smith
This is the story of Mary Hay's intellectual quest. Her experience was one of constant struggle against traditional, social, political, religious and private assumptions about what women should and should not be or do.