Female Communities, 1600-1800: Literary Visions and Cultural Realities

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2000-07-01
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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This collection of essays explores for the first time both fictional and actual visions by early modern women of female communities in Great Britain. These projections of ideal worlds speak of women's social and political impotence and are thus concerned with fundamental issues of power and access to knowledge and space. They are characterized by a utopian concept of community, bringing with it associations of sisterhood, support networks, female friendships, and companionship, be they between sisters, queen and attendants, writers, readers, or lesbian lovers.

Author Biography

Linda Bree is Editor, British and European Literature at Cambridge University Press Kate Chedgzoy is Lecturer in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick Elizabeth Child is is currently completing a doctoral dissertation on gender, geography and print culture in England's eighteenth-century provincial towns Rebecca D'Monte is Lecturer at the University of Southampton New College Susan Donahue is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas Elaine Hobby is Reader in Women's Studies in the English and Drama Department, Loughborough University Alessa Johns is Assistant Professor of English at the University of California, Davis Gary Kelly is Professor of English at the University of Alberta in Canada Lee Cullen Khanna is Professor of English at Montclair State University Susan Lamb holds a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship to do research at Harvard University Nicole Pohl is Lecturer at University College Northampton Marion Wynne-Davies is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Dundee

Table of Contents

Notes on the Contributors ix
List of Plates
Foreword xiii
Lee Cullen Khanna
Introduction 1(27)
Rebecca D'Monte
Nicole Pohl
`My Desires...Lie...Wrapt Up Now in Folds of Losse': Lady Mary Wroth's Baroque Visions of Female Community in the Enchantment Episodes of The Countess of Montgomery's Urania (1621)
Susan Donahue
`For Virgin Buildings Oft Brought Forth': Fantasies of Convent Sexuality
Kate Chedgzoy
`Come to Live a Preaching Life': Female Community in Seventeenth-Century Radical Sects
Elaine Hobby
Mirroring Female Power: Separatist Spaces in the Plays of Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle
Rebecca D'Monte
`My Fine Delitive Tomb': Liberating `Sisterly' Voices during the Civil War
Marion Wynne-Davies
Mary Astell's `Excited Needles': Theorizing Feminist Utopia in Seventeenth-Century England
Alessa Johns
`In this Sacred Space': The Secular Convent in Late Seventeenth-and Eighteenth-Century Expository Literature
Nicole Pohl
Women's Provi(de)nce: Religion and Bluestocking Feminism in Sarah Scott's Millenium Hall (1762)
Gary Kelly
Sisterhood and Sarah Fielding
Linda Bree
Protected Witnesses: the Male Tourist and Female Communities in the Fictions of Thomas Amory and Sarah Scott
Susan Lamb
`... Virtuous Knowledge Woman's Truest Pride': Civic Ethos and Women's Literary Community in Eighteenth-Century Bath
Elizabeth Child
Bibliography 238(20)
Index 258

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