Gender and Utopia in the Eighteenth Century: Essays in English and French Utopian Writing

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2007-02-28
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Focusing on eighteenth-century constructions of symbolic femininity and eighteenth-century women's writing in relation to contemporary utopian discourse, this volume adjusts our understanding of the utopia of the Enlightenment, placing a unique emphasis on colonial utopias. These essays reflect on issues related to specific configurations of utopias and utopianism by considering in detail English and French texts by both women (Sarah Scott, Sarah Fielding, Isabelle de Charrière) and men (Paltock and Montesquieu). The contributors ask the following questions: In the influential discourses of eighteenth-century utopian writing, is there a place for 'woman,' and if so, what (or where) is it? How do 'women' disrupt, confirm, or ground the utopian projects within which these constructs occur? By posing questions about the inscription of gender in the context of eighteenth-century utopian writing, the contributors shed new light on the eighteenth-century legacies that continue to shape contemporary views of social and political progress.

Table of Contents

Utopian exchanges: negotiating difference in Utopia
A fragile utopia of sensibility
Gothic utopia: heretical sanctuary in Ann Radcliffe's The Italian
Rewriting Rousseau: Isabelle de Charriere's domestic dystopia
Utopia in the seraglio: feminist hermeneutics and Montesquieu's Lettres Persanes
Transparency and the enlightenment body: utopian space in Sarah Scott's Millenium Hall and de Sade's The 120 Days of Sodom
`Emperess of the world': gender and the voyage utopia
'A man might find every thing in your country': improvement, patriarchy and gender in Robert Paltock's The Life and Adventures of Peter Wilkins
Generating regenerated generations: race, kinship and sexuality in Henry Neville's Isle of Pines, (1668)
Thinking globally, acting locally: enlightenment utopianism for 21st-century feminists?
Works cited
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