Rational Passions: Women and Scholarship in Britain, 1702 - 1870

Edited by Felicia Gordon and Gina Luria Walker

© 2008

This anthology of primarily non-fiction works by British women (1702-1870) introduces readers to a range of lesser-known texts and examines thei authors'’ scholarly ambitions and often groundbreaking achievements.

Despite their lack of civil and political rights and in the absence of formal academic training, each of the writers profiled in this unique collection was anxious to establish herself as a serious contributor to what were regarded as male intellectual traditions. Students of women's history will be reacquainted with Harriet Martineau and Mary Hays' political writings while being introduced to Priscilla Wakefield, Jane Marcet, Ada Byron, and Mary Somerville's contributions to science and mathematics. Among others, Mary Shelley and Anna Jameson will intrigue readers with their innovative offerings to the expanding print culture.  

A historical introduction and chronology provide the context for the primary sources which are arranged thematically. Biographical profiles and short commentaries are provided for each author.  

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 428 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.8in x 9.0in
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SKU# HE000178

  • PUBLISHED MAR 2008

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    Regular Price: $56.00

    ISBN 9781551116433

Quick Overview

"At last we have a wonderful collection that documents the range of women's intellectual activities during the years 1700-1870. One cannot help but admire these women for their intellectual courage and achievements in a male world." - Martha Vicinus, University of Michigan

Rational Passions: Women and Scholarship in Britain, 1702 - 1870

Edited by Felicia Gordon and Gina Luria Walker

© 2008

This anthology of primarily non-fiction works by British women (1702-1870) introduces readers to a range of lesser-known texts and examines thei authors'’ scholarly ambitions and often groundbreaking achievements.

Despite their lack of civil and political rights and in the absence of formal academic training, each of the writers profiled in this unique collection was anxious to establish herself as a serious contributor to what were regarded as male intellectual traditions. Students of women's history will be reacquainted with Harriet Martineau and Mary Hays' political writings while being introduced to Priscilla Wakefield, Jane Marcet, Ada Byron, and Mary Somerville's contributions to science and mathematics. Among others, Mary Shelley and Anna Jameson will intrigue readers with their innovative offerings to the expanding print culture.  

A historical introduction and chronology provide the context for the primary sources which are arranged thematically. Biographical profiles and short commentaries are provided for each author.  

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 428 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.8in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    Rational Passions fulfils the promise of its title. This fine book captures the intellectual and emotional excitement of women engaged with ideas and writing forpublication in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—and interprets their austere ardour to readers in the twenty-first. The editors have selected texts that are seldom anthologized, organized them shrewdly, and supplemented them with helpful introductions and extensive documentation. Academics will not only assign this book to their students, they will keep a copy to consult for their own scholarship.


    Leslie Howsam, University of Windsor

    At last we have a wonderful collection that documents the range of women's intellectual activities during the years 1700-1870. One cannot help but admire these women for their  intellectual courage and achievements in a male world. The editors put to rest many cliches including the notion that women gave up history and philosophy for fiction following the backlash against the French Revolution. This anthology should be on the shelf of anyone interested in women's intellectual contributions during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.


    Martha Vicinus, University of Michigan

    This substantial anthology will be invaluable for anyone teaching or studying in the field of women’s education and scholarship in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain. The well-chosen selections from women working in fields as diverse as politics, history, literary criticism, philosophy, political economy, botany, and mathematics are fully contextualised here and explained. The authors are to be congratulated on providing such a reliable introduction to the complex issues relevant to the gendered nature of scholarship in this period.


    Jane Rendall, University of York
  • Author Information

    Felicia Gordon was Principal Lecturer in Philosophy and European Literature at Anglia Ruskin University. Now a Senior Research Associate, she has published extensively in women's history and aspects of French Feminism. She is the author of Marie-Madeleine Jodin 1741-1790: Actress, Philosophe, and Feminist (Ashgate, 2002).



    Gina Luria Walker is Associate Professor of Women's Studies at The New School. She is the author of Mary Hays (1759-1843): The Growth of A Woman's Mind (Ashgate, 2006) and The Idea of Being Free: A Mary Hays Reader (Broadview, 2005). She is co-editor of William Godwin's Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Broadview, 2001), and has published widely on Romantic literature and Enlightenment feminism.

  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgements

    Introduction

    Chronology

    Part 1: History and Politics

    1. Elizabeth Elstob (1683-1756)

    The Rudiments of Grammar for the English-Saxon Tongue, First given in English with an Apology for the Study of Northern Antiquities (1715)

    2. Priscilla Wakefield (1750-1832)

    Reflections on the Present Condition of the Female Sex with Suggestions for its Improvement (1798)

    3. Anna Lætitia Barbauld (1743-1825)

    An Address to the Opposers of the Repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts (1790)

    4. Catharine Macaulay Graham (1731-1791)

    Observations on the Reflections of the Right Hon. Edmund Burke on the Revolution in France, In a Letter to the Right Hon. The Earl of Stanhope (1790)

    The History of England From the Accession of James I to the Elevation of the House of Hanover (1768)

    5. Lucy Aikin (1781-1864)

    "The Trial and Execution of Mary Queen of Scots," Memoirs of the Court of Elizabeth (1818)

    6. Agnes Strickland (1796-1874)

    "Elizabeth," Lives of the Queens of England From the Norman Conquest (1877)

    7. Mary Hays (1759-1843)

    "Catharine Macaulay Graham," Female Biography (1803)

    8. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851)

    "Madame de Staël," Lives of the Most Eminent Literary and Scientific Men of France (1838-1839)

    9. Harriet Martineau (1802-1876)

    "Preface," Illustrations of Political Economy (1832)

    Part 2: Education

    10. Hester Chapone (née Mulso) (1727-1801)

    "A Matrimonial Creed; addressed by Miss Mulso to Mr. Richardson in consequence of his questioning her strictly on what she believed to be the duties of the married state (1750–1751)," The Works of Mrs. Chapone (1807)

    Letters on the Improvement of the Mind. Addressed to a Young Lady (1773)

    11. Hester Lynch Piozzi (1740-1821)

    Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey Through France, Italy, and Germany (1789)

    British Synonymy; or, An Attempt at Regulating the Choice of Words in Familiar Conversation (1794)

    12. Elizabeth Hamilton (1758-1816)

    Letters on the Elementary Principles of Education (1801)

    13. Catherine Macaulay Graham (1731-1791)

    Letters on Education with Observations on Religious and Metaphysical Subjects (1790)

    14. Hannah More (1745-1833)

    Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education. With a View of the Principles and Conduct Prevalent Among Women of Rank and Fortune (1799)

    15. Mary Hays (1759-1843)

    "Letter IV," Letters and Essays, Moral, and Miscellaneous (1793)

    16. Maria Edgeworth (1767-1849)

    Letters for Literary Ladies (1795)

    Part 3: Philosophy and Religion

    17. Catherine Trotter (1674-1749)

    A Vindication of an Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1702)

    18. Elizabeth Carter (1717-1806)

    "Introduction," All the Works of Epictetus (1758)

    "Chapter XII: Of Contentment," All the Works of Epictetus (1758)

    A Series of Letters between Mrs. Elizabeth Carter and Miss Catherine Talbot

    The Rambler, Number XLIV (1750)

    19. Anna Lætitia Barbauld (1743-1825)

    Remarks on Mr. Gilbert Wakefield’s Enquiry into the Expediency and Propriety of Public or Social Worship (1792)

    20. Harriet Martineau (1802-1876)

    "Preface," The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte (1853)

    "Chapter 1," The Positive Philosophy of August Comte (1853)

    Part 4: Art and Literary Criticism

    21. Elizabeth Montagu (1718-1800)

    "Introduction," Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespeare, Compared with the Greek and French Dramatic Poets. With Some Remarks Upon the Misrepresentation of Mons. De Voltaire (1769)

    22. Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)

    Review of Letters on Education, by Catharine Macaulay Graham, Analytical Review (1790)

    Review of Observations and Reflections, made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy and Germany, by Hester Lynch Piozzi, Analytical Review (1789)

    23. Anna Lætitia Barbauld (1743-1825)

    "Miss Burney," The British Novelists (1810)

    24. Mary Cowden Clarke (1809-1898)

    The Complete Concordance to Shakespeare (1845; 1881)

    25. Anna Jameson (1794-1860)

    Sacred and Legendary Art (1848)

    Part 5: Science and Mathematics

    26. Priscilla Wakefield (1750-1832)

    Introduction to Botany (1796)

    27. Jane Marcet (1769-1858)

    Conversations on Chemistry in which the Elements of that Science are Familiarly Explained and Illustrated by Experiments, in two volumes (1817)

    28. Ada (Augusta) Byron (1815-1852)

    Notes on Menabrea’s Memoir on Babbage’s Calculating Engines (1843)

    29. Mary Fairfax Somerville (1780-1872)

    On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences (1834)

    Bibliography

    Index

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