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The History of British Women's Writing, 1690 - 1750

There is a palpable sense of a transforming culture at the end of one century and the beginning of another in the writing of women between 1690 and 1750. This volume charts the most significant changes for a literary history of women: the beginnings of a discourse of 'enlightened' feminism, the response by women writers to the Cartesian and natural scientific revolutions of the later seventeenth centuries, and attempts by women both as writers and publishers to exploit the new possibilities in literary culture attendant on the establishment of new financial institutions . Contributions to this volume demonstrate that women were engaging in forms old and new in ways that sought to shape and transform rather than simply reflect or respond to the work of their male contemporaries. This is one of the earliest periods in which we can begin to recognise women as enjoying 'careers' as writers, experiencing public success through both print and manuscript circulation, name recognition, and sometimes indeed living by their writing. Chapters give generous space to close and attentive reading of the rich and creative texts produced by these writers. The quality and significance of individual writers' works is assessed in each essay as well as writers' contribution to specific discourses and contemporary debates of relevance to their position as women.

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