9780754654919

Seeing Suffering in Women's Literature of the Romantic Era

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780754654919

  • ISBN10:

    0754654915

  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2008-08-28
  • Publisher: Ashgate (AGH)

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Supplemental Materials

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Summary

Arguing that vision was the dominant mode for understanding suffering in the Romantic era, Elizabeth A. Dolan shows that Mary Wollstonecraft, Charlotte Smith, and Mary Shelley experimented with aesthetic and scientific visual methods in order to expose the social structures underlying suffering. Dolan's exploration of illness, healing, and social justice in the writings of these three authors depends on two major questions: How do women writers' innovations in literary form make visible previously unseen suffering? And, how do women authors portray embodied vision to claim literary authority? Dolan's research encompasses a wide range of primary sources in science and medicine, including nosology, health travel, botany, and ophthalmology, allowing her to map the resonances and disjunctions between medical theory and literature. This in turn points towards a revisioning of enduring themes in Romanticism such as the figure of the Romantic poet, the relationship between the mind and nature, sensibility and sympathy, solitude and sociability, landscape aesthetics, the reform novel, and Romantic-era science. Dolan's book is distinguished by its deep engagement with several disciplines and genres, making it a key text for understanding Romanticism, the history of medicine, and the position of the woman writer during the period.

Table of Contents

Introduction
Illness
Melancholia and the poetics of visibility
Charlotte Smith's Elegaic Sonnets
Contagion, sympathy, invisibility: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Healing
The journey to heal melancholia
Mary Wollstonecraft's Letters fron Norway
Scientific botany as therapy
Charlotte Smith's literature
Invisibility and the history of trauma
Mary Shelley's Rambles in Germany and Italy
Social Justice
Seeing poverty
Smith's Rural Walks and Wollstonecraft's Original Stories as fictional ethnography
Unsentimental seeing
Wollstonecraft's The Wrongs of Woman and didactic children's literature
Afterword
Bibliography
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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