This book analyzes why the most influential novelists of the long eighteenth century centered their narratives on the theory and practice of gift exchange. Throughout this period, fundamental shifts in economic theories regarding the sources of individual and national wealth along with transformations in the practices of personal and institutional charity profoundly altered cultural understandings of the gift's rationale, purpose, and function. Drawing on materials such as sermons, conduct books, works of political philosophy, and tracts on social reform, Zionkowski challenges the idea that capitalist discourse was the dominant influence on the development of prose fiction. Instead, by shifting attention to the gift system as it was imagined and enacted in the formative years of the novel, the volume offers an innovative understanding of how the economy of obligation shaped writers' portrayals of class and gender identity, property, and community. Through theoretically-informed readings of Richardson's Clarissa and Sir Charles Grandison, Burney's Cecilia and The Wanderer, and Austen's Mansfield Park and Emma, the book foregrounds the issues of donation, reciprocity, indebtedness, and gratitude as it investigates the conflicts between the market and moral economies and analyzes women's position at the center of these conflicts. As this study reveals, the exchanges that eighteenth-century fiction prescribed for women confirm the continuing power and importance of gift transactions in the midst of an increasingly commercial culture. The volume will be essential reading for scholars of the eighteenth-century novel, economic literary criticism, women and gender studies, and book history.
This first critical collection on Delarivier Manley revisits the most heated discussions, adds new perspectives in light of growing awareness of Manley’s multifaceted contributions to eighteenth-century literature, and demonstrates the wide range of thinking about her literary production and significance. While contributors reconsider some well-known texts through her generic intertextuality or unresolved political moments, the volume focuses more on those works that have had less attention: dramas, correspondence, journalistic endeavors, and late prose fiction. The methodological approaches incorporate traditional investigations of Manley, such as historical research, gender theory, and comparative close readings, as well as some recently influential theories, like geocriticism and affect studies. This book forges new paths in the many underdeveloped directions in Manley scholarship, including her work’s exploration of foreign locales, the power dynamics between individuals and in relation to states, sexuality beyond heteronormativity, and the shifting operations and influences of genre. While it draws on previous writing about Manley’s engagement with Whig/Tory politics, gender, and queerness, it also argues for Manley’s contributions as a writer with wide-ranging knowledge of both the inner sanctums of London and the outer developing British Empire, an astute reader of politics, a sophisticated explorer of emotional and gender dynamics, and a flexible and clever stylist. In contrast to the many ways Manley has been too easily dismissed, this collection carefully considers many points of view, and opens the way for new analyses of Manley’s life, work, and vital contributions to the full range of forms in which she wrote.
The Culture of the Gift in Eighteenth-Century England analyzes the long overlooked role of gift exchange in literary texts and cultural documents and provides innovative readings of how gift transactions shaped the institutions and practices that gave this era its distinctive identity.
Highlighting the remarkable women who found ways around the constraints placed on their intellectual growth, this collection shows that long eighteenth-century writers usurped subjects perceived as masculine to contribute to scientific, political, philosophical and theological debate and progress. This multifaceted volume goes beyond traditional readings of women’s creativity to add fresh, at times controversial, insights into the female view of the intellectual world.
Elizabeth Rowe, Catharine Cockburn and Elizabeth Carter
Author: M. Bigold
Category: Literary Criticism
Using unpublished manuscript writings, this book reinterprets material, social, literary, philosophical and religious contexts of women's letter-writing in the long 18th century. It shows how letter-writing functions as a form of literary manuscript exchange and argues for manuscript circulation as a method of engaging with the republic of letters.
This work offers a fresh historical, philosophical and cultural interpretation of the relation between the eighteenth-century discourse of sensibility, the sublime and the theory and practice of eighteenth-century law. It exposes and explores the influence of this combination of discourses upon the formation of gender identities in the period and examines the presence, within eighteenth-century fiction by women, of a new female subject. Novels by women in this period, Chaplin posits, begin to reveal that the female subject position constructed through the discourses of law, sensibility and the sublime gives rise, for women, to a feminine ontological crisis that anticipates by two hundred years the trauma of the 'post modern' male subject unable to present a unified subjectivity to himself or to the world. This feminine crisis finds expression within a range of female fiction of the mid-to-late eighteenth century-in Charlotte Lennox's anti-romance satire, Frances Sheridan's 'conduct-book' novels, the Gothic romances of Radcliffe and Eliza Fenwick and the sensationalistic horror fiction of Charlotte Dacre.
This book is an exciting new series of lively, original and authoritative critical studies aimed at the student and general reader. Each book takes as its subject an author, genre or single text. Some titles guide students through the perplexing cross-current of critical debate by offering fresh and forthright reappraisals of their subject. Others offer new and timely studies of less familiar subjects which are of importance and value to the student. The series avoids a uniform critical identity or tight ideological approach, allowing the authors to explore their subject in their own way, taking account of recent changes in critical perspective.
Capitalism and Sacrifice in Nineteenth-century American Fiction
Author: Hildegard Hoeller
Publisher: University of New Hampshire
In this rich interdisciplinary study, Hildegard Hoeller argues that nineteenth-century American culture was driven by and deeply occupied with the tension between gift and market-exchange. Rooting her analysis in the period's fiction, she shows how American novelists from Hannah Foster to Frank Norris grappled with the possibility of gifts, faith, and trust in an increasingly capitalist America. Placing the notion of sacrifice at the center of her discussion, Hoeller taps into the poignant discourse of modes of exchange, revealing central tensions of American fiction and culture.