Get Women's Reading in Britain, 1750-1835: A Dangerous PDF

By Jacqueline Pearson

ISBN-10: 0521584396

ISBN-13: 9780521584395

The expansion of lady studying audiences from the mid-eighteenth century to the early Victorian period represents either an important episode in women's heritage and a hugely significant component in shaping the literary construction of the interval. This ebook deals the 1st huge evaluate and designated research of this starting to be readership, its illustration in literature, and its impact. Jacqueline Pearson examines either ancient ladies readers, together with Laetitia Pilkington, Elizabeth Carter, Frances Burney and Jane Austen, and a variety of texts within which the determine of the lady reader is necessary.

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Johnson disagreed:' "Then you are a fool, madam!. . 2 Although this narrative does not seem to be gendered — age, not gender, seems the criterion of suitability — gender was surely a significant unspoken element. 3 However much commentators differed in detail, virtually all thought women's reading mattered, for society as well as individuals. In 1814 Laetitia-Matilda Hawkins denied 'that books produce no effects', certain that reading 'censurable' books 'can do . . harm'. 4 Anxieties clustered especially around the power of reading to affect the emotions.

Books and reading also marked the end of relationships or critical moments in them. At the end of their affair Caroline Lamb wrote 'Remember me' on the flyleaf of one of his favourite books, Beckford's Vathek, and one element in the Byrons' final separation was her breaking into his writing desk and finding some letters to a married woman and a 'book. . 84 In some relationships a book represents transparently his sexual ambivalence. In 1820 he sent Teresa Guiccioli a copy of Benjamin Constant's Adolphe, which was 'not a very tactful gift' for his married mistress since it deals wih the 'misery' of extramarital affairs,85 and Guiccioli was 'very much hurt' by it (vn, p.

He is sympathetic to the rise of the woman writer, arguing with ponderous playfulness that the 'pen is almost as pretty an implement in a woman's fingers, as a needle'. As a printer he published the work of many women including Susanna Centlivre, Eliza Haywood, Sarah Fielding, Charlotte Lennox, Elizabeth Carter, Mary Barber, Mary Leapor, and Elizabeth Rowe, and he collected unpublished work by women including the poems of Mehetabel Wesley. He even incorporates women's writing into his novels, including Elizabeth Carter's 'Ode to Wisdom' in Clarissa, and material from letters by Lady Bradshaigh and other female correspondents into Sir Charles Grandison,24 so the traditional distinctions between writer and reader, male authority and female passivity, are renegotiated.

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Women's Reading in Britain, 1750-1835: A Dangerous Recreation by Jacqueline Pearson


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