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.
Women's Work challenges influential accounts about gender and the novel by revealing the complex ways in which labour informed the lives and writing of a number of middling and genteel women authors publishing between 1750 and 1830. This book provides a particularly rich, yet largely neglected, seam of texts for exploring the vexed relationship between gender, work and writing. The four chapters that follow contain thoroughly contextualised case studies of the treatment of manual, intellectual and domestic labour in the work and careers of Sarah Scott, Charlotte Smith, Mary Wollstonecraft and women applicants to the writer's charity, the Literary Fund. By making women's work visible in our studies of female-authored fiction of the period, Batchelor reveals the crucial role that these women played in articulating debates about the gendered division of labour, the (in)compatibility of women's domestic and professional lives and the status and true value of women's work that shaped eighteenth-century culture as surely as they shape our own.
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.
Altruism and self-assertiveness went hand in hand for Victorian women. During a period when most lacked property rights and professional opportunities, gift transactions allowed them to enter into economic negotiations of power as volatile and potentially profitable as those within the market systems that so frequently excluded or exploited them. They made presents of holiday books and homemade jams, transformed inheritances into intimate or aggressive bequests, and, in both prose and practice, offered up their own bodies in sacrifice. Far more than selfless acts of charity or sure signs of their suitability for marriage, such gifts radically reconstructed women's personal relationships and public activism in the nineteenth century. Giving Women examines the literary expression and cultural consequences of English women's giving from the 1820s to the First World War. Attending to the dynamic action and reaction of gift exchange in fiction and poetry by Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Christina Rossetti as well as in literary annuals, Salvation Army periodicals, and political pamphlets, Rappoport demonstrates how female authors and fictional protagonists alike mobilized networks outside of marriage and the market. Through giving, women redefined the primary allegiances of their everyday lives, forged public coalitions, and advanced campaigns for abolition, slum reform, eugenics, and suffrage.
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 book recovers the importance of a major figure in eighteenth-century British fiction: the Heroine of Disinterest. Cope shows how the disinterested heroine was no stereotype but a crucial figure in modernizing identity, bringing to life the ideal of character as the product of experience and reflection rather than inheritance and lineage.