Gender and Utopia in the Eighteenth Century: Essays in by Brenda Tooley, Nicole Pohl

By Brenda Tooley, Nicole Pohl

Targeting eighteenth-century buildings of symbolic femininity and eighteenth-century women's writing with regards to modern utopian discourse, this quantity adjusts our knowing of the utopia of the Enlightenment, putting a different emphasis on colonial utopias. those essays contemplate matters relating to particular configurations of utopias and utopianism via contemplating intimately English and French texts by means of either ladies (Sarah Scott, Sarah Fielding, Isabelle de Charrière) and males (Paltock and Montesquieu). The participants ask the subsequent questions: within the influential discourses of eighteenth-century utopian writing, is there a spot for 'woman,' and if that is so, what (or the place) is it? How do 'women' disrupt, make sure, or floor the utopian initiatives in which those constructs ensue? by way of posing questions about the inscription of gender within the context of eighteenth-century utopian writing, the individuals shed new mild at the eighteenth-century legacies that proceed to form modern perspectives of social and political growth.

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And care for those marginalized by poverty informs the daily charitable practices of the ladies of Millenium Hall. In this exchange of giving and receiving the philosophy articulated initially in the friendship of the founders, Mrs. Morgan and Miss Mancel is essential. From our dystopic vantage, it might be all too easy to discount the value of “gratitude” as indicator of a noble mind. But as that “delicate” disquisition on the psychology of debit and credit, receiving and giving makes clear, true value, true pleasure, consists in the process of exchange.

In these histories there are no heterosexual relationships without cost to women. By listening to Mrs. Maynard, the male visitor and the reader discover that although the owners of Millenium Hall seem happy and virtuous, the journey to utopia has been anything but easy. Indeed a motif of loss and restoration permeates the text. If Scott uses the discourses of sensibility and economics to rework women’s sexual and financial vulnerability in the mid-eighteenth century, she thereby extends to the genre of utopia a negotiation of debit and credit employed by other women writers of the period.

The instability of place and person engages a reader in a tantalizing and sensual journey where meaning remains elusive and encounters with difference suggest utopian potential to overturn normative hierarchies but include violence and tragedy. *** By the mid-eighteenth century in England Sarah Scott writes a seemingly more stable utopia. Indeed, set neither on an exotic island nor beyond the North Pole but in the heart of the English countryside, the utopian world of Millenium Hall seems as solid as its firm walls.

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