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Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender, and Sentimentality in the 1790s--Wollstonecraft, Radcliffe, Burney, Austen (Women in Culture and Society Series)

Claudia L. Johnson

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ISBN 10: 0226401847 / ISBN 13: 9780226401843
Published by University Of Chicago Press, 1995
Used Condition: Good+ Soft cover
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Good paperback, excellent reading copy. Spine is uncreased, binding tight and sturdy. Light shelfwear. Occasional, light markings. Previous owner's inscription on front endpaper. Ships from Dinkytown in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Bookseller Inventory # 172550

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Equivocal Beings: Politics, Gender, and ...

Publisher: University Of Chicago Press

Publication Date: 1995

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:Good+

About this title

Synopsis:

In the wake of the French Revolution, Edmund Burke argued that civil order depended upon nurturing the sensibility of men—upon the masculine cultivation of traditionally feminine qualities such as sentiment, tenderness, veneration, awe, gratitude, and even prejudice. Writers as diverse as Sterne, Goldsmith, Burke, and Rousseau were politically motivated to represent authority figures as men of feeling, but denied women comparable authority by representing their feelings as inferior, pathological, or criminal. Focusing on Mary Wollstonecraft, Ann Radcliffe, Frances Burney, and Jane Austen, whose popular works culminate and assail this tradition, Claudia L. Johnson examines the legacy male sentimentality left for women of various political persuasions.

Demonstrating the interrelationships among politics, gender, and feeling in the fiction of this period, Johnson provides detailed readings of Wollstonecraft, Radcliffe, and Burney, and treats the qualities that were once thought to mar their work—grotesqueness, strain, and excess—as indices of ideological conflict and as strategies of representation during a period of profound political conflict. She maintains that the reactionary reassertion of male sentimentality as a political duty displaced customary gender roles, rendering women, in Wollstonecraft's words, "equivocal beings."

About the Author:

Claudia L. Johnson is professor of English at Princeton University and the author of Jane Austen: Women, Politics, and the Novel, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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