Unsex'd Revolutionaries: Five Women Novelists of the 1790's

By Eleanor Ty

© 1993

Women had been writing long before the French Revolution, but the reactionary character of the 1790s infused their work with a public importance and an urgency. The decade was one of intense argument and reflection on the role of women in society. Eleanor Ty studies the ways in which five women writers of the 1790s politicized the domestic or sentimental novel in response to oppression and exclusion. Influenced by radical post-revolution thinkers, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Hays, Helen Maria Williams, Elizabeth Inchbald, and Charlotte Smith wrote fiction that questioned existing social, economic, legal and cultural practices as they related to women. In particular, they dealt with historically specific gender issues such as female education, the rights and ‘wrongs’ of woman, and the duties of a wife.

Using historical and feminist psycho-linguistic studies as a base, Ty explores some of the complexities encountered in the writings of these five women. Through their challenge to Edmund Burke’s patriarchal ideas, they discovered strategies of writing based on the maternal or female aesthetic.

For these ‘unsex’d revolutionaries,’ sentimental or domestic fiction was not just about courtship, love, and romance. Their writings interrogate the structures of society, and criticize and make relevant the connections between the personal and the political, the domestic and the public sphere.

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Product Details

  • Series: Theory / Culture
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 189 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.6in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP001757

  • PUBLISHED AUG 1993

    From: $24.71

    Regular Price: $32.95

    ISBN 9780802077745
  • PUBLISHED AUG 1993

    From: $39.75

    Regular Price: $53.00

Quick Overview

Using historical and feminist psycho-linguistic studies as a base, Ty explores some of the complexities encountered in the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Hays, Helen Maria Williams, Elizabeth Inchbald, and Charlotte Smith

Unsex'd Revolutionaries: Five Women Novelists of the 1790's

By Eleanor Ty

© 1993

Women had been writing long before the French Revolution, but the reactionary character of the 1790s infused their work with a public importance and an urgency. The decade was one of intense argument and reflection on the role of women in society. Eleanor Ty studies the ways in which five women writers of the 1790s politicized the domestic or sentimental novel in response to oppression and exclusion. Influenced by radical post-revolution thinkers, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Hays, Helen Maria Williams, Elizabeth Inchbald, and Charlotte Smith wrote fiction that questioned existing social, economic, legal and cultural practices as they related to women. In particular, they dealt with historically specific gender issues such as female education, the rights and ‘wrongs’ of woman, and the duties of a wife.

Using historical and feminist psycho-linguistic studies as a base, Ty explores some of the complexities encountered in the writings of these five women. Through their challenge to Edmund Burke’s patriarchal ideas, they discovered strategies of writing based on the maternal or female aesthetic.

For these ‘unsex’d revolutionaries,’ sentimental or domestic fiction was not just about courtship, love, and romance. Their writings interrogate the structures of society, and criticize and make relevant the connections between the personal and the political, the domestic and the public sphere.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Theory / Culture
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 189 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.6in x 9.0in
  • Author Information

    Eleanor Ty is a professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University.

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