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Introduction: Innovations in the “Scandalous Memoir”

  • Caroline Breashears
Chapter

Abstract

This project contributes to the literary history of eighteenth-century women’s life writings, particularly those labeled “scandalous memoirs.” I argue that the evolution of this subgenre was shaped partially by several memoirs that have received only modest critical attention: Madame de La Touche’s Apologie (1736), Lady Vane’s Memoirs of a Lady of Quality (1751), Catherine Jemmat’s Memoirs (1762), and Margaret Coghlan’s Memoirs (1794). To illuminate their contributions, I review our current understanding of the origins and significance of the “scandalous memoir” as well as questions recently raised about women’s collaboration and the fluidity of forms. I add to this discussion with new information about these memoirists, whom I situate within historical and generic contexts. In so doing, I reveal their innovations in form and meaning.

Keywords

Life writings “Scandalous memoirs” Genre Innovation Lady Vane Madame La Touche Tobias Smollett Catherine Jemmat Margaret Coghlan 

Bibliography

  1. Gooch, Elizabeth. An Appeal to the Public, on the Conduct of Mrs. Gooch, The Wife of William Gooch, Esq. Written by Herself. London: G. Kearsley, 1788.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caroline Breashears
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishSt. Lawrence UniversityCantonUSA

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