By Elizabeth Eger
Bluestockings participated within the first wide-scale construction of a countrywide tradition. Exploring the stress among person and collective types of authorship, Eger attracts on visible and revealed fabrics and unpublished manuscripts to argue for the iconic relevance of rational argument within the historical past of womens' writing.
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Extra resources for Bluestockings: Women of Reason from Enlightenment to Romanticism
69 The Enlightenment assumption of equal distribution of intellectual capacity was understood, by some at least, to include women. After all, Descartes’s Discourse on Method was written in the vernacular, and available to women as well as men. Once mind was separated from body and elevated, nothing could be argued from physiology; women’s reproductive capacity could no longer be held against them if all minds were created equal and rationality was the cardinal virtue. 70 Locke argued against a divinely instituted patriarchal power traceable back to Adam as the model for political and familial relations, placing a new emphasis on contract in both these spheres.
44 From the 1750s, a movement to recover the talents of British women writers emphasised the positive moral qualities of the female sex. 45 The explosion of female biographies and dictionaries of ‘worthies’ in the mid-eighteenth century has been seen as partly responsible for fixing the definition of the successful woman writer as one who is middle-class, well-read, pious and charitable. 46 However, while the advent of the public ‘woman of virtue’ allowed her to pursue a professional writing life, it inevitably constrained the nature of her expression.
Com - licensed to Universitetsbiblioteket i Tromso - PalgraveConnect - 2011-03-14 34 35 of active male poets who dominate the foreground of the picture, and the naked nymph of the Castillian springs, who is sprawled languorously across the centre of the composition. 11 Samuel may have modelled his own painting on Anton Raphael Mengs’s Parnassus (1760–61), painted for the Villa Albani in Rome and hailed as a manifesto of the new style of neoclassicism, while itself clearly indebted to the work of Raphael and Poussin.