Introduction to Post-Coloniality

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Mary WollstonecraftMary a Fiction and The Wrongs of WomenL exercice des plus sublimes vertus l ve et nourrie le g nie J J Rousseau Aristotle.
Mary Wollstonecraft384 322 B C Introduction Mary Wollstonecraft was one of the most innovative andpolitically engaged writers of the age of Revolution.
1789 and Romanticism 1800 1840 Her achievement was to fashion a distinctively feministdiscourse in several different kinds of writing includingthe novel She did this at a time and in a culture when women were.
largely excluded by custom education experience andopportunity from writing and from the public sphere and where the kinds of writing they were allowed to practise Introduction Wollstonecraft s achievement was the more remarkable.
for being realized despite personal difficulties familyresponsibilities stinted education and social prejudiceagainst women who lived and who wrote as she did In fact she converted these into her feminist discourse using the political philosophy of her day to argue that.
systemic injustice and oppression are experienced at theindividual domestic and local level and had to be resistedand changed there as well as throughout the largersocial system Introduction.
Long before the phrase gained wide circulation in the1970s Wollstonecraft and her contemporaries believedthat the personal is the political because politics orrelations and institutions of power condition personalidentity social relationships and life chances for everyone .
The circumstances of her time challenged her as womanand writer then but they also presented her with uniqueopportunities and shaped her literary political career Introduction If all feminisms are historically particular influenced by.
and addressing specific historical and social circumstances then the circumstances and events of Wollstonecraft sday and of her life challenged and facilitated herachievement in fashioning a feminist discourse of andfor her time .
The major factors in Wollstonecraft s social andintellectual formation as a feminist for her time were herearly family and social experience her vocations beforebecoming a professional author and her determinedprogramme of self education .
Introduction Her early family life and social experience made herpainfully aware of inequalities of class and gender She became determined to avoid or transcend them byachieving personal independence and social usefulness .
and by acquiring the ability through reading and study toreflect critically on her experience and her world so as tochange them Go to 58 Introduction.
By the time she was born in 1759 the Wollstonecraftfamily had converted profits from silk weaving intoproperty and lived mainly from rents Introduction Such rentiers enjoyed higher social status than those in.
trade or manufacturing and commerce but rankedbelow the landed gentry and aristocracy Wollstonecraft s father aspired to the landed gentry and heset up as a gentleman farmer but his improvidence anddrinking led to a decline in fortune and status creating.
competition and conflict within the family Feeling neglected in favour of her older brother anddisgusted by her father s vices Wollstonecraft left homeby her late teens Introduction.
Though employment opportunities outside marriage forwomen of her class were few she tried each in turn lady s companion teacher and school proprietor andgoverness to an aristocratic Irish family These employments gave her financial independence but .
more important they enabled her to educate herself toobserve and reject hierarchies of class and gender toconsolidate her resistance to conventional socialrelationships and marriage and to form her own networkof like minded intellectual men and women .
Introduction One of these was Fanny Blood with whom Wollstonecrafthad a passionate friendship set up a school outsideLondon and attended at her last illness and death Others included intellectual and literary clergymen and.
educated older women Introduction These relationships reflected on and theorized in light ofher eclectic reading would he refigured and given centralplace in Wollstonecraft s first novel Mary A Fiction.
1788 for they enabled her to try alternatives to the socialidentities and relationships available to her at that time andwhich her family experience and social observation hadtaught her to reject Introduction.
Sensibility Wollstonecraft was able to connect her experience in thisway because she formed her ideas and identity within thelate eighteenth century culture of Sensibility orSentimentalism .
Sensibility provided the intellectual aesthetic andpolitical framework for all of Wollstonecraft s writings Introduction Sensibility The central theme of the philosophy and literature of.
Sensibility was the relationship between the externalnatural and social world and the inner self or sensibility Introduction Note Originating in philosophical and scientific writings .
sensibility became an English language literary movement particularly in the then new genre of the novel Such works called sentimental novels featured individualswho were prone to sensibility often weeping fainting feeling weak or having fits in reaction to an emotionally.
moving experience If one were especially sensible one might react this way toscenes or objects that appear insignificant to others Introduction This reactivity was considered an indication of a sensible.
person s ability to perceive something intellectually oremotionally stirring in the world around them However the popular sentimental genre soon met with astrong backlash as anti sensibility readers and writerscontended that such extreme behavior was mere histrionics .
and such an emphasis on one s own feelings and reactions asign of narcissism Introduction Samuel Johnson in his portrait of Miss Gentle articulatedthis criticism .
She daily exercises her benevolence by pitying everymisfortune that happens to every family within her circle ofnotice she is in hourly terrors lest one should catch cold inthe rain and another be frighted by the high wind Hercharity she shews by lamenting that so many poor wretches.
should languish in the streets and by wondering what thegreat can think on that they do so little good with such large Emma Hamilton as Sensibility Stipple engraving 1789 after apainting by Geroge Romney Emma Hamilton 1765 1815.
Emma Lady Hamilton was an English model and actress who is best remembered as the mistress of Lord Nelson andas the muse of the portrait artist George Romney Introduction Sensibility.
Writers of Sensibility including Wollstonecraft drew onEnlightenment philosophers arguments that subjectiveidentity was constructed by the mind from variousphysical sensations received from the external naturaland social world .
Her early writings indicate that Wollstonecraft wasfamiliar with these arguments and her letters frequentlyregistered her philosophical sense of the connectionbetween her social experience and the condition forbetter and too often for worse of her mind and body .
Introduction Sensibility Furthermore Enlightenment political philosophersargued that the vicious and corrupt social economic and political system of things as they are would.
necessarily act on human bodies and physical senses toproduce vicious and corrupted individual subjects andsocial relations Wollstonecraft would adapt this argument specifically tothe condition of women .
Introduction Sensibility But if a vicious system necessarily produced viciousindividuals how was that system to be changed One favoured solution was through individuals who.
were enlightened and sensible that is morally socially and intellectually sensitive and so able torecognize the vicious circle for what it was and showhow to change it Introduction.
Sensibility Such a vanguard role appealed to people likeWollstonecraft across Europe and the Americas who feltexcluded and alienated from the established system ofsocial privilege and patronage dominated by the upper.
classes and Wollstonecraft would insist by men Introduction Sensibility The philosopher and man of feeling envisaged byEnlightenment thought and Sentimental culture was the.
prototype of the revolutionary And what of the female philosopher and woman offeeling However Enlightenment philosophers and writers ofSensibility offered a contradictory representation of.
Introduction Sensibility On the one hand because of women s supposedly greaterphysiological delicacy than men women were thought tothe inherently and naturally liable to excessive emotion .
less intellectual and rational than men more likely tosuccumb to appetite and desire and incapable ofpowerful imagination and creativity Introduction Sensibility.
On the other hand because of the same physiologicaldifference women were thought to be more refined inbodily sensation and consequently in thought andemotion naturally more loving and nurturing moresusceptible to social sympathy and charity more acute.
in aesthetic response and more conciliating than men Introduction Sensibility Philosophers such as David Hume 1711 1776 alsoargued that women supposedly gentler and more.
sensible by nature education and social formation had amajor role to play in human progress by civilizing men naturally more aggressive and competitive and makingthem fit for civil society or a society based on freeassociation of equal individuals .
Introduction Sensibility Wollstonecraft rejected the sexist aspects of Sensibilityas particularly damaging for women encouraging them toaffect genteel delicacy and indulge the feelings rather.
than cultivate the mind and so making them liable to romantic or unrealistic fantasies vulnerable to courtlygallantry and seduction and dependent on men Introduction Sensibility.
She insisted that women s weaknesses were produced by education or processes of socialization andacculturation rather than by nature Accordingly Wollstonecraft would advocate exercise one of her favourite words of both mind and body for girls.
and women in order to nurture robust bodies andtherefore strong minds and disciplined feelings Introduction Sensibility Despite the ambivalence of Enlightenment philosophy.
and Sentimental literature regarding women theyprofoundly influenced Wollstonecraft s ideologicalformation and her literary poetics and practice Wollstonecraft s writings and especially her novels showthat the most important influence for her as for many.
others was the Swiss writer Jean Jacques Rousseau 1712 78 Introduction Sensibility He was a leading figure in Sensibility s challenge to the.
established old order of court monarchy and thepolitical ecclesiastical and social networks it controlled His political works gave eloquent expression to ideals ofegalitarianism meritocracy and civil society central toSentimental politics .
Introduction Sensibility Even more influential were Rousseau avant gardeSentimental novel La Nouvelle Heloise 1761 hisphilosophical quasi novel Emile ou l ducation 1762 .
and his daringly autobiographical Confessions 1781 8 andReveries d un promeneur solitaire Reveries of a SolitaryWalker 1782 In these works Rousseau connected psychologicalconflict and social alienation in an individual such as.
himself to the corrupt and unjust state of modern society Introduction Sensibility By doing so he enabled educated middle class people tounderstand themselves as revolutionary subjects who.
were inevitably solitary walkers unable to findhappiness or a place in what they perceived to be thedecadent and corrupt system of things as they are Introduction Sensibility.
Wollstonecraft referred to herself as a solitary walker thereby identifying herself with this vanguard Introduction Sensibility Adam Smith s Theory of Moral Sentiments 1759 .
furnished her with a philosophy of moral self consciousness ethical conduct social sympathy civilsociety and economic self determination Hugh Blair s Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres 1783 provided a poetics of principled self expression.
The play also featured the archetypal male seducer and betrayer, Lothario, and was often restaged in Wollstonecraft’s day, with her friend, the famous tragedian Sarah Siddons, as Calista. The Wrongs of Woman or, Maria Even a passing reference, such as to John Dryden’s poem ‘Guiscard and Sigismunda’ (p. 79), contributes to the feminist ...

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