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Cambridge Studies in Romanticism : Mary Wollstonecraft and the Feminist Imagination Series Number 56 - Barbara Taylor

Cambridge Studies in Romanticism

Mary Wollstonecraft and the Feminist Imagination Series Number 56


Published: 13th March 2003
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In the two centuries since Mary Wollstonecraft published A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), she has become western feminism's leading icon, a stature that has obscured her actual historic significance. Examining in detail Wollstonecraft's writings, Barbara Taylor provides an alternative reading of her as a writer steeped in the utopianism of Britain's radical Enlightenment. Her feminist principles are shown to have arisen within a revolutionary program for universal equality and moral perfection that reached its zenith during the political upheavals of the 1790s but had its roots in the radical-Protestant Enlightenment. Locating Wollstonecraft within her literary and political milieus, and tracing the relationship between her feminist radicalism and her troubled personal history, the book draws a compelling portrait of this fascinating and profoundly influential thinker. Barbara Taylor, a reader in History in the Department of Cultural Studies at the University of East London, is an intellectual and cultural historian specializing in the history of feminism from 1750-1850. Her first book, Eve and the New Jerusalem: Socialism and Feminism in the Nineteenth Century (Pantheon, 1983) is a study of the feminist dimension of British Utopian Socialism. It was published to widespread acclaim and she has been awarded many research grants, including fellowships from the Leverhulme Trust, the Nuffield Foundation, the British Academy and the Guggenheim Foundation.

'This book will be essential reading for many years to come, not merely as a groundbreaking monograph on Wollstonecraft, but for demonstrating the centrality of feminist philosophy to the development of the Romantic imagination.' Times Literary Supplement 'Read every word of this excellent book. Never before has the true genius of Mary Wollstonecraft been so indelibly portrayed. Several other expert hands have offered their various portrayals but Barbara Taylor presents the most properly designed picture of the revolutionary age in which she lived and to which she made such an original contribution.' Michael Foot, Tribune '... outstanding ... the product of many years' engagement with Wollstonecraft, Taylor's study of her works in her time - and in ours - discerns numerous contradictions and paradoxes in them, in her life and in the reception of them.' The Guardian '... a thoughtful, wide-ranging and important examination of Wollstonecraft's thought ... Wollstonecraft is skilfully considered in terms of radical Enlightenment thought, and the links between this and feminism are probed in a treatment that is alive to the diversity of this radicalism.' Times Higher Education Supplement 'This book is an important addition to the now quite extensive literature on Mary Wollstonecraft ... a careful and nuanced account of the changing political and intellectual circumstances in which Wollstonecraft lived. the discussion of the 1790s, of the rapid shifts in outlook in Britain that followed the French Revolution, and their impact on the ways in which Wollstonecraft was read and understood is particularly insightful.' Radical Philosophy 'What Taylor gives us is not only a highly insightful reading of Wollstonecraft, but also an exemplary piece of feminist scholarship.' H-Net Book Review 'The polyvalent senses of Barbara Taylor's title, Mary Wollstonecraft and the Feminist Imagination, convey both the scope and sublety of this important monograph.' History '... Taylor marvelously delineates Wollstonecraft's life and entire corpus within a historical context, by way of her original and unique access: the combination of psychoanalytic approach and historical study ... I found Mary Wollstonecraft and the Feminist Imagination thrilling and illuminating. Taylor's perspective is surprisingly original, but at the same time, built up on the past scholarship on Wollstonecraft ... I am deeply impressed with Taylor's distinguished talent and long-year perseverance 'for the love of Wollstonecraft.' I believe Mary Wollstonecraft and the Feminist Imagination will make a great contribution and open new prospects for future scholarship on Mary Wollstonecraft, a fascinating and profoundly influential thinker.' Studies in English Literature '... compelling and ground-breaking'. European Romantic Review 'Taylor is a sharp and generous reader of Wollstonecraft's character, of her writings, and of her times. This magisterial study is the carefully crafted result of two decades of work; it demonstrates an excellent command of Wollstonecraft's oeuvre, and it is formidably informed about competing intellectual and ideological systems in the eighteenth century.' MLR '... for anyone familiar with her work and the ideas of the Enlightenment, this is an interesting and thought-provoking read.' International Socialism

Introduction: Mary Wollstonecraft and the paradoxes of feminism
Imagining Women
The female philosopher
The chimera of womanhood
For the love of God
Feminism and Revolution
Wollstonecraft and British radicalism
Perfecting civilization
Gallic philosophesses
Women vs. the polity
The female citizen
Jemima and the beginnings of modern feminism
Epilogue: the fantasy of Mary Wollstonecraft
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521661447
ISBN-10: 0521661447
Series: Cambridge Studies in Romanticism
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 13th March 2003
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.6 x 16.0  x 2.7
Weight (kg): 0.69