In the 1970s, feminist historians of science began the slow work of recovering Du Châtelet’s writings and her contributions to history and philosophy. For this edition, Judith P. Zinsser has selected key sections from Du Châtelet’s published and unpublished works, as well as related correspondence, part of her little-known critique of the Old and New Testaments, and a treatise on happiness that is a refreshingly uncensored piece of autobiography—making all of them available for the first time in English. The resulting volume will recover Châtelet’s place in the pantheon of French letters and culture.
Judith P. Zinsser is professor of history and an affiliate in the women’s studies program at Miami University. She is the author of Emilie Du Châtelet: Daring Genius of the Enlightenment.
Isabelle Bour is professor of eighteenth-century English studies at the Sorbonne.
Translated and with an introduction and notes by Robin Buss. Includes explanatory footnotes, as well as suggestions for further reading of acclaimed literary criticisms and references.
Originally published in 1945.
The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
Yet even in this egalitarian environment, the concept of breeding remained tied to theories of blood lineage, caste distinction, and biological difference. Turning to the works of Locke, Rousseau, Swift, Defoe, and other giants of the British Enlightenment, Jenny Davidson revives the debates that raged over the husbandry of human nature and highlights their critical impact on the development of eugenics, the emergence of fears about biological determinism, and the history of the language itself. Combining rich historical research with a keen sense of story, she links explanations for the physical resemblance between parents and children to larger arguments about culture and society and shows how the threads of this compelling conversation reveal the character of a century. A remarkable intellectual history, Breeding not only recasts the fundamental concerns of the Enlightenment but also uncovers the seeds of thought that bloomed into contemporary notions of human perfectibility.
Catherine Craft-Fairchild's work provides a useful corrective to Castle's treatment of masquerade. She argues that, in fictions by Aphra Behn, Mary Davys, Eliza Haywood, Elizabeth Inchbald, and Frances Burney, masquerade is double-sided. It is represented in some cases as a disempowering capitulation to patriarchal strictures that posit female subordination. Often within the same text, however, masquerade is also depicted as an empowering defiance of the dominant norms for female behavior. Heroines who attempt to separate themselves from the image of womanhood they consciously construct escape victimization. In both cases, masquerade is the condition of femininity: gender in the woman's novel is constructed rather than essential.
Craft-Fairchild examines the guises in which womanhood appears, analyzing the ways in which women writers both construct and deconstruct eighteenth-century cultural conceptions of femininity. She offers a careful and engaging textual analysis of both canonical and noncanonical eighteenth-century texts, thereby setting lesser-read fictions into a critical dialogue with more widely known novels. Detailed readings are informed throughout by the ideas of current feminist theorists, including Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva, Mary Ann Doane, and Kaja Silverman. Instead of assuming that fictions about women were based on biological fact, Craft-Fairchild stresses the opposite: the domestic novel itself constructs the domestic woman.