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The Feminization Debate in Eighteenth-Century England

Literature, Commerce and Luxury

The Feminization Debate in Eighteenth-Century England by E.J. Clery
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In the eighteenth century, critics of capitalism denounced the growth of luxury and effeminacy while others celebrated the increase of refinement and the improved status of women. This pioneering study demonstrates the way the association of commerce and femininity permeated cultural production. It looks at the first use of a female author as an icon of modernity in the Athenian Mercury in the 1690s, reappraises misogynist representations in the work of Mandeville, Defoe and Pope in the light of the stock market crash of 1720, and considers in detail the turbulent careers of the poets Elizabeth Singer Rowe and Elizabeth Carter. The novels of Samuel Richardson represent the culmination of the English debate, while contemporary essays by David Hume move towards a fully-fledged enlightenment theory of feminization. Clery's book is essential reading not only for students of eighteenth-century literature, but for those interested in the emergence of commercial ideology and the evolution of theories of gender.
Palgrave Macmillan; August 2004
247 pages; ISBN 9780230509047
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Title: The Feminization Debate in Eighteenth-Century England
Author: E.J. Clery