Saturday, November 29, 2008

Books for women in public 18th culture class

Tim Hitchcock, “A New History From Below,” _History Workshop Journal_ 57, no. 1 (2004): 294-298.

For a more skeptical view of the "new history from below" see Nicholas Rogers, "London's Marginal Histories," _Labour/Le Travail_, 60 (Fall 2007): 217-234.

Tim Hitchcock, _Down and Out in Eighteenth-Century London_ (London: Hambledon, 2004);

John Styles, _The Dress of the People: Everyday Fashion in Eighteenth-Century England_ New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008.

Brand, Claire and Susan E. Whyman, eds. _Walking the Streets of Eighteenth-Century London - John Gay's Trivia_ (1716). Oxford University Press, 2009.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

New class for GST/HIST

Prostitutes, Politicians, and other Public Women in Eighteenth Century England.

London in 1700

Monsieur d'Eon is a woman

Mary Montagu's Embassy Letters

Georgiana,Duchess of Devonshire

Something on the Bluestockings

Something on religious women - Hanna More?

Moll King and other prostitutes

The coffee house book

Charlotte Charke

Karen Harvey on Sexuality

Vickery's Gentleman's Daughter


Brilliant Women: 18th-Century Bluestockings by Elizabeth Eger, Lucy Peltz 2008

The lives and letters of an eighteenth-century circle of acquaintance / Temma Berg 2006

Bluestocking feminism : writings of the Bluestocking Circle, 1738-1785 / general editor, Gary Kelly, volume editors, Elizabeth Eger ... [et al.]. 1999

Friday, August 15, 2008

Querelle des femmes titles

Boccaccio, De claris mulieribus or Concerning Famous Women (1360-74)

Martin Lefranc, Le Champion des dames (1442)

Cornelius Agrippa, De nobilitate et praecellentia foeminei sexus (1529, composed 1509)

Gratien du Pont (1534)

Thomas Elyot, The Defense of Good Women (1545)

François de Billon (1553)

Marguerite de Navarre, Heptameron (1558)

Anthony Gibson, a Woman's Woorth, defended against all the Men in the World, proving them to be more Perfect, Excellent, and Absolute in all Vertuous Actions than any Man of what Qualitie soever, Interlarded with Poetry (1559)

Jean de Marconville (1564)

Philippe Desportes, Stances du mariage (1571)

Marie de Romieu, Bref discours de l'excellence de la femme (158?)

Thomas Nashe. An Almon for a parrot. London 1590.

Giuseppe Passi, Dei donneschi difetti (1599)

Moderata Fonte, Il Merito delle Donne or The Worth of Women (1592)

Lucrezia Marinella, The Nobility and Excellence of Women (1600)

Alexis Trousset, alias Jacques Olivier, Alphabet de l'imperfection et malice des femmes (1617)

Marie de Gournay, Égalité des hommes et des femmes (1622)

Anna Maria van Schurmann, On the capacity of the female mind for learning. (1640)

Jacquette Guillaume, Les Dames Illustres; où par bonnes et fortes Raisons il se prouve que le Sexe Feminin surpasse en toute Sorte de Genre le Sexe Masculin; (1665)

Francois Poulain de la Barre, (1675)

Sophia, Woman not inferior to man: or, a short and modest vindication of the natural right of the fairer sex to a perfect equality of power, dignity and esteem, with men, London 1739.

For more look here:

E-texts of "feminist" men

Monday, July 28, 2008

Feminists versus Gallants

Feminists versus Gallants: Manners and Morals in Enlightenment Britain.
Barbara Taylor.

Representations 87, 2004 (123-148)

Starts from Wollstonecrafts critique of the Enlightenment and its tendency toward gallantry and makes an argument that this gallantry was not a remnant or relic, but a newly constructed attempt at oppression. The problem it intended to solve was, if I understand it, demands for a new civilized man for modernity, "most of whose key attributes ... belonged on the feminine side of the gender axis." (135) Women set the standard ... but "if men were to emulate women, what becamse of virility and its associated prerogatives?" (ibid) or as Adam Smith put the risk "THe delicate sensibility required in civilized nations sometimes destroys the masculine firmness of the character" (footnote 64 page 135)

Taylor argues that, not only are Vickery and Colley right in arguing that the spheres weren't exactly separate but "by the mid-eigtheenth century, men and women of the British middle ranks were becoming more like each other" (136) and the "amazons of the pen" (Sam Johnson's expression - footnote 72) "were everywhere contest[ing] the usurpations of virility."

And now we get to it - the patronizing gallantry is a "rearguard effort to stave off the equalizing pressures of commercial society, to shore up a 'sexual distinction' " (137), as opposed to the effeminate French bastards who clearly could not be trusted to do it right.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mary Astell - publications and public response

The belief that not only men but also all women can master clarity of thought is an important element in the most reactionary of Astell's writings, Some Reflections upon Marriage, Occasion'd by the Duke and Duchess of Mazarine's Case, published in 1700. Written in response to witnessing the divorce of a friend of Lady Catharine Jones, this work argues that a sound education is a requirement for any woman wishing to enter a healthy marriage. In addition to criticizing men who marry for money, power, or out of the vain desire to display an attractive wife, Astell paints marriage as an unhealthy state for most women, and therefore a state sought only by the irrational: "A Woman has no mighty Obligations to the Man who makes Love to her; she has no Reason to be fond of being a Wife, or to reckon it a Piece of Preferment when she is taken to be a Man's Upper-Servant; it is no Advantage to her in this World; if rightly managed it may prove one as to the next." While economic necessity and social constraints might force a woman into such an injurious institution as marriage, according to Astell a sound education would arm her with the skills necessary to turn the situation to her favor.

In 1706 Astell released a third edition of Some Reflections upon Marriage, responding to critics of her work and urging England's womenfolk to strive for a marriage based on true friendship rather than necessity or pride. "Let us learn to pride ourselves in something more excellent than the invention of a Fashion," she counsels readers, "and not entertain such a degrading thought of our own worth as to imagine that … the best improvement we can make of these is to attract the Eyes of men." In the Appendix of this work is her most-quoted line among feminists: "If all men are born free, how is it that women are born slaves? as they must be if the being subjected to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary Will of Men, be the perfect Condition of Slavery?"

Perhaps because it was not overtly defiant of male authority, A Serious Proposal to the Ladies was immensely popular among women readers, and through its wide circulation Astell won many fans. Perhaps not surprisingly, it also won its share of detractors. In June and again in September of 1709 the popular Tatler included essays by writers Jonathan Swift and Richard Steele that attacked Astell's idea of a women's school. Dubbing Astell "Madonella," the essays satirized her so-called "Order of Platonics" by imagining this order of reclusive, fragile nuns hiding while their nunnery is rudely entered by a group of rough gentlemen. Flattering Madonella by praising her writing skill, the men gain mastery over the situation; in short, they hold these educated women to their "inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary Will."

The proposal for a quasi-religious college for women that Astell first outlined in A Serious Proposal to the Ladies was revived in The Christian Religion as Profess'd by a Daughter of the Church of England, a plea for furthering women's education that was addressed to England's Queen Ann, who had taken the throne in 1702. Although because of this work the school was reported to have been at least considered by Anne, it never came to fruition due to rumors by Anne's Protestant advisors that it would result in the reestablishment of Catholic nunneries.

After 1709, perhaps partially in response to the ridiculing she received in the Tatler, Astell ceased writing. Her last published book was a revised edition of Bart'lemy Fair; or, an Enquiry after Wit; In Which Due Respect Is Had to a Letter concerning Enthusiasm, which appeared in 1722. Now in middle age, Astell refocused her attention toward opening a charity school. With the help of her patrons, she succeeded, and a school for girls was established at London's Chelsea Hospital that remained operational until the late 1800s. Ultimately succumbing to breast cancer, Astell died on May 9, 1731, at the age of sixty-four in Chelsea, England.

Friday, May 30, 2008


"Time flies like an arrow

Fruit flies like a banana"

I keep thinking there is something about a bat in there as well but I am wrong, I also keep thinking there is a word for this kind of twist in word usage - like in the first sentence is another kind of like than the like in the second sentence.

Inflation data

One of them very useful sites - I should make a list of them somewhere ...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Research questions

This is really what research should be about - asking questions! I found today that Mary Philipse was accused of treason with two other women during the American Revolutionary War - but I am having trouble finding any particulars about them. So this is a question to research ... and either I can find the answer easily in a book OR there is no such book and I can write it. That is how it is supposed to work.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Broccoli Principle

It doesn’t matter how healthy it is if they won’t eat it.


We have to eat the broccoli life serves us.

which one is it?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Michael Warner "The Trouble with Normal"

A review of the book can be found here:

the book does not contend that people should be able to be gay and conservative - rather the opposite, but it does present that argument as the struggle for normal - the desire to be accepted by the mainstream - and then goes on to explain why that is troublesome. Achieving the right to marriage moves the boundary of who is accepted a white (norm/al)- it does not change the inherently bizarre structure that divides the norm/al from the degenerate and it does nothing to fix the issues with the institution of marriage.

So the fact that my women were allowed to speak - or claim non-gendered positions to speak from - may not have been a weakness in the system or a sign that oppression was less serious. It could have worked as a vent, and a way to reinforce the structure. "You cannot speak as a woman, you can be either a woman or a public speaker - you have to renounce your gender to speak" sorta thing. Pretend you are not jewish and you can be part of the culture ... fight for gay marriage so you don't fight for gay culture ... hmm.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hayden White

this is where I will post what I find about him when I find it!


Darn it - Rachel wrote me with the information that there is this guy Hayden White - why did I not know about him?? Why did I not know that there was Collingwood and Hayden and so many others!!!

Oh well, here goes, the beginnings of a list:

R.G. Collingwood
The Idea of History

E.H. Carr
What is History?

Roger Chartier
On the Edge of the Cliff

Michel de Certeau
The Practice of Everyday Life

Raphael Samuel
Theatres of Memory Vol. 1: Past and Present in Contemporary Culture, (Verso, 1996)
Theatres of Memory Vol. 2: Island Stories: Unravelling Britain, (Verso, 1999) -the ground-breaking look at the way that we see the past.

Hayden White:
The Content of Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation, 1987

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Graduate Theory Reading Group, March 19

Intro on Quentin Skinner:

Born in 1940 and educated at Cambridge in the 60's. Spent four years at Princeton in the seventies and works as a historian and political scientist. Interested in recovering the ideas of Early Modern European thinkers and exploring the history of the early modern idea of the state. With JGA Pocock he is seen as one of the elements of "the Cambridge School" (Peter Laslett too). They focus on speech acts - seeing historical texts in a context and trying to bring back the author's intentions.

This was his first major publication and it is still discussed. Together with six other texts it forms the core of Meaning and Context:Quentin Skinner and His Critics (Princeton UP, 1989) edited by James Tully. Each essay is discussed by another writer who criticques it and Skinner. Toward the end of the book Skinner gets a chance to rebut.

The article:

Five sections that explain why neither "text only" or traditional "context is the answer" approaches work. The final segment says something about what CAN be done ... although apparently Skinner is more interesting in providing general directions than a specific plan.

First we consider the text only approach - based on the assumption that there are timeless elements to issues. If you believe this, you want to focus on recovering the timeless questions and answers. Hard to argue that there isn't something like this going on, since we recongnize concepts and family resemblances. The dilemma is that we can only understand the new in terms of the old and so we hear the ideas of others in terms of what we think they must be saying. These expectations take several forms:

the mythologies of doctrine - expecting a person to have a doctrine on "their" topic and finding it in their texts, whether they had a doctrine on the topic or not (and if they did, whether what we believe they should have been saying is really what they intended to want to say. A version of this gives raise to the historical absurdity when authors are simply blamed or praised by how well they aspire to be like us (are they good precursors of what WE are). Also, there is sometimes a presumption of an essential, immanent idea that has a life of its own and can be traced through the writings of people who get it or almost get it or don't get it.

a version that is a reverse of the above - a person expexcts a doctrine, can't find it and then critiqued for not being as expected. The main version of this is people who are surprisingly neutral on somethign believe them to have a position on, the worst case being when eg Plato is criticised for not dealing enough with things that were not in existence to BE issues at the time.

The Mythology of Coherence - tries to decide what a person's position is and then reads everything from that presumed position, adding missing pieces by extrapolation, as if ALL their texts were connected, even to the point of discount authorial statements about what they were writing.

Discussion page 21 about persecuted writers -

So what happens when we move on to individual works?
First the mythology of prolepsis - working from the CURRENT importance of a work it reads back the future into the past and sees the result as the intention.
Then the mythology of parochialism - the reader sees something familiar in the text and believes the author put it there - often happens when a reader sees an apparent reference to a previous (classical work) and decides the first work influenced the second.
Then a second form of parochialism - misunderstanding the sense of a work (as an example there is a discussion of Locke's writings on government by consent - easy to see as a theory on the best organisation of government - whereas it is clear that Locke only meant to write about the ORIGIN of legitimate societies)

ALL of these issues arise when the historian "begins to ignore certain general criteria ... which must necessarily apply to the whole enterprise of making and understanding statements" (28)

You can't be said to have meant something that you clearly would disagree with (eg using concepts that arose later or were otherwise unfamiliar)

You can't claim someone failed to say something unless you can show that he had the intention of saying that particular thing or something like it.

Finally we have to consider that people may consciously adopt incompatible ideas and that most people who think wrestle with ideas and do not have them neatly organised in coherent bunches.

Objection - pointing out the dangers and pitfalls is not the same as saying "don't do it". But the problem is not whether there are doctrines articulated or not, the problem is whether it is appropriate or even possible to treat such a system as a self-sufficient object of inquiry (31). Indeed, I argue that the whole approach is hogwash - it fails to consider or even recognize some of the most important issues - the relation between what a person said and what he may be said to have meant by saying what he did.
Example - the case of the doctrine of religious toleration. People wrote at each other and made very oblique references that WILL be missed unless you read them together. THere is also the problem of knowing when people are sincere and when they are not, when is a position a disguise and when is it what is meant (the persecution thing again?) - and one way to get at that is to see how readers THEN received the texts.
Example - reading the idea as a self-sufficient unit ... but ideas are NOT coherent, and they are often meant in several ways at the same time (cf OED's list of meanings) - we must study ALL hte various situations inn which the given forms of words CAN be USED.


At this point it might seem so much better to read by context, seeing texts as responses to immediate circumstances. This reading is getting popular but seems to end up claming that since ideas change reality and reality changes ideas maybe it is better to just do material history (42)??? I want to claim that whereas a context can HELP read a text, it does not EXPLAIN the text. Understanding the causes of an action does NOT explain the action itself.

People sometimes say they intend to do things they never do, the same set of causes leave people doing very different actions,

It is not enough to know what it means but we need to know HOW what was said was meant and what it was meant to do (e.g. is it reinforcing acepted norms or challenging them)

we cannot write biographies concentrating on the works, OR write histories of ideas tracing the morphology of a given concept over time


I. how does this relate to the previous text?

II Is the critique of "text only" approach convincing? In part or in whole? What would be the advantages of reading "the text only"?

III Reactions to the discussion about persecuted writers? How DO we read them?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Plurality of Corresponding Parts

"Literary Scholarship and Popular History" Lionel Gossman. Eighteenth Century Studies 7, 2 (1973) p 134.

"Indeed, a good case can be made for a metaphoric model allowing for the totality to be conceived as a plurality of corresponding parts, rather than a strongly unified whole in which the parts are hierarchically subordinated and subsumed"

What does it mean to say a British peasant lived in the eighteenth century rather than the seventeenth? Does that even make sense?

Monday, January 07, 2008

ASECS 2008 paper notes

Richardson, R. C., "LITERATURE AND HISTORY": THE IDENTITY AND PURPOSE OF THE JOURNAL, Literature and History, 11:1 (1985), 1-?.

Literature and History - started 1975 - is interdisciplinary but mostly (70 %) literary. "too many historians are evidently not deeply interested either in literature as the special and unique kind of source material which it is or in the methods and theories which literary critics have devised for studying it." (6)
Also a discussion of how historians deal with the icky material - as straightforward evidence or illustration ...

Allen, James Smith. "History and the Novel: Mentalité in Modern Popular Fiction"
History and Theory, 22, 3 (1983), 233-252.

"Unfortunately, social historians have expended more effort extracting and verifying information from novels than they have spent considering how this should be done. Compared with quantitative history, the level of theoretical and technical sophistication in the historian's use of literature has been remarkably low.5 Unself-conscious, eclectic, traditional historians tend to shy
away from this kind of theorizing, thus compounding the numerous problems of using a source as unreliable as fiction." (234-5)

Quentin Skinner "Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas." History and Theory, 8 (1969), 3-53.

Talks about why neither the ONLY THE TEXT nor the USE THE CONTEXT to explain the text works. We must understand the text - what it says, the material and intellectual conditions and circumstances that produce the text, AND we must understand the intended force of the text. Was it intended to reinforce an accepted position, or to be subversive and controversial? Was it intended to be challenging and thoughtprovoking or simply to clarify what everyone was thinking anyway?

Anyway, the point of it is that knowing the context is helpful, but the context does not necessarily explain the meaning of the text. "The 'context' mistakenly gets treated as ateh determinant of what is said. It needs rather to be treated as an ultimate framework for helping to decide what conventionally recognizable meanings, in a society of that kind, it might in principle have been possible for someone to have intended to communicate." (49)

We can't say that history is important because it helps us study timeless ideas; there IS no perennial wisdom. There may be perennial questions but, .... "whenever it is claimed that the point of historical study of such questions is that we may learn directly from the answers, it will be found that what counts as an answer will usually look, in a different culture or period, so different in itself that it can hardly be in the least useful even to go on thinking of the relevant question as being 'the same' in the required sense after all." (52)

"The key to the indispensable value of of studying the history of ideas" is instead that the classic texts "help to reveal, if we let them, not the essential sameness, but rather the essential variety of viable moral assumptions and political commitments." (52)

Linda Colley in
Going Native, Telling Tales: Captivity, Collaborations and Empire, by Linda Colley. Past and Present, 2000, 170-193.
says "Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century writers - and readers - rarely accepted a rigid division between empirical reportage and fiction, and this militates against understanding in several ways" (173)
Defoe's Life ... of the Famous Captain Singleton, published in 1720, was not advertised or necessarily read as fiction - but when an ostensibly factual account by Robert Drury of his captivity was published in 1729, it was described as "such another romance as Robinson Crusoe"


5. In fact, despite a widespread practice, very few historians have considered their use of
literature; most "discussions" are either asides or afterthoughts, for example, Perrot, Les Ouvriers
en greve, 11545. Major exceptions to this general rule, however, are the widely ranging Peter
Laslett, "The Wrong Way through the Telescope: A Note on Literary Evidence in Sociology and in
Historical Sociology," British Journal of Sociology 27 (1976), 319-342, which touches on nearly
every issue of the source's unreliability; the more narrowly focused William 0. Aydelotte, "The
England of Marx and Mill as Reflected in Fiction," Journal of Economic History 8 (1948), Supplement,
42-58; Alexander Gerschenkron, "A Neglected Source of Economic Information on Soviet
Russia," Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective (Cambridge, Mass., 1962), 296-317;
George L. Mosse, "Literature and Society in Germany" in Literature and Western Civilization,
Vol. 5: The Modern World, 11, Realities, ed. David Daiches and Anthony Thorlby (London,
1972), 267-299; Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, L'Argent, I'amour et la mort en pays d'oc: PrPcPdPdu roman de I'abbe Fabre "Jean-I'ont-pris" (1756) (Paris, 1980); Bonnie G. Smith, "The Domestic Myth," Ladies of the Leisure Class: The Bourgeoises of Northern France in the Nineteenth Century (Princeton, 1981), 187-213; Jerome Blum, "Fiction and the European Peasantry: The Realist Novel as a Historical Source," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 126 (1982), 2: 122-139; and the more personal Herbert Butterfield, The Historical Novel (Cambridge, 1924), and Richard Cobb, Promenades: A Historian's Appreciation of Modern French Literature (Oxford, 1980).