The Feminization Debate in Eighteenth-Century England: Literature, Commerce and Luxury

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Springer, Aug 20, 2004 - Literary Criticism - 234 pages
In the Eighteenth-century, critics of capitalism denounced the growth of luxury and effeminacy; supporters applauded the increase of refinement and the improved status of women. This pioneering study explores the way the association of commerce and femininity permeated cultural production. It looks at the first use of a female author as an icon of modernity in the Athenian Mercury , and reappraises works by Elizabeth Singer Rowe, Mandeville, Defoe, Pope and Elizabeth Carter. Samuel Richardson's novels represent the culmination of the English debate, while contemporary essays by David Hume move towards a fully-fledged enlightenment theory of feminization.

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About the author (2004)

E. J. CLERY is Professor of Eighteenth-Century Literature at the University of Southampton, UK. She is the author of The Rise of Supernatural Fiction, 1762-1800 (1995) and Women's Gothic from Clara Reeve to Mary Shelley (2000), co-editor of Gothic Documents: A Sourcebook, 1700-1820 and Authorship, Commerce and the Public: Scenes of Writing, 1750-1850, and has published widely on Eighteenth-century and Romantic-era literature and culture.