More related to gender studies

This groundbreaking study explores the later lives and late-life writings of more than two dozen British women authors active during the long eighteenth century.

Drawing on biographical materials, literary texts, and reception histories, Devoney Looser finds that far from fading into moribund old age, female literary greats such as Anna Letitia Barbauld, Frances Burney, Maria Edgeworth, Catharine Macaulay, Hester Lynch Piozzi, and Jane Porter toiled for decades after they achieved acclaim—despite seemingly concerted attempts by literary gatekeepers to marginalize their later contributions.

Though these remarkable women wrote and published well into old age, Looser sees in their late careers the necessity of choosing among several different paths. These included receding into the background as authors of "classics," adapting to grandmotherly standards of behavior, attempting to reshape masculinized conceptions of aged wisdom, or trying to create entirely new categories for older women writers. In assessing how these writers affected and were affected by the culture in which they lived, and in examining their varied reactions to the prospect of aging, Looser constructs careful portraits of each of her subjects and explains why many turned toward retrospection in their later works.

In illuminating the powerful and often poorly recognized legacy of the British women writers who spurred a marketplace revolution in their earlier years only to find unanticipated barriers to acceptance in later life, Looser opens up new scholarly territory in the burgeoning field of feminist age studies.

In Making Love: Sentiment and Sexuality in Eighteenth-Century British Literature, Paul Kelleher revises the history of sexuality from the vantage point of the literary history of sentimentalism. Kelleher demonstrates how eighteenth-century British philosophers, essayists, and novelists fundamentally reconceived the relations among sentiment, sexuality, and moral virtue. It is his contention that sentimental discourse, both philosophical and literary, posited heterosexual desire as the precondition of moral feeling and conduct. The author further suggests that sentimental writers fashioned the ideal of conjugal love as an ideological antidote to the theories of self-love and self-interest found in the works of Thomas Hobbes and Bernard Mandeville. Heterosexual desire and its culmination in conjugal love, in other words, were represented as the privileged means for an individual to transcend self-love and to develop a moral sensibility attuned to the thoughts and feelings of others. At the same time, Kelleher suggests, other pleasures and desires—particularly those rooted in same-sex eroticism—were increasingly depicted as antithetical to conjugal love and, thus, were morally devalued and socially disenfranchised. Kelleher's argument unfolds through close readings of a variety of texts, including Shaftesbury’s Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, Joseph Addison and Richard Steele’s the Tatler and the Spectator, Eliza Haywood’s Love in Excess, Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, and Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones. Although these texts embody diverse rhetorical strategies and thematic concerns, he shows how they collectively reinforce an overarching sentimental ideology: on the one hand, heterosexual desire and conjugal love become synonymous with sympathy, benevolence, and moral goodness, while on the other hand, same-sex desire is pathologized as a selfish withdrawal from procreation, domesticity, sociability, and ultimately, “humanity” itself.
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