Advertisement

Abstract

The intellectual historian Albert Hirschman proposed that one of his aims was ‘to renew the sense of wonder about the genesis of the “spirit of capitalism’”.1 A similar aim lies behind the present study. The basic assertions about human nature that accompany the development of capitalist societies — the primacy of self-interest, acquisitiveness, the hedonistic desire to consume — were disputed right through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The apologists for economic innovation were forced to find moral and political arguments to justify change.

Keywords

Eighteenth Century Late Eighteenth Century Sexual Double Standard Woman Writer Economic Innovation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Albert O. Hirschman, The Passions and the Interests: Political Arguments for Capitalism before its Triumph (Princeton, 1984) 9.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Terry Eagleton, The Rape of Clarissa: Writing, Sexuality, and Class Struggle in Samuel Richardson (Oxford, 1982) 13.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Nancy Armstrong, Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel (New York and Oxford, 1987) 5.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    My usage is also distinct from the pragmatic application of ‘feminization’ to describe the growing public prominence of women, notably in literary production. See, for instance, Gary Kelly, Women, Writing, and Revolution (Oxford, 1993) v. It is closer to Laura Brown’s description of the ‘feminization of ideology’, the polemical association of the ‘female figure’ with ‘commodification and trade’, but I will want to distinguish between effeminization, the negative version of this nexus, which Brown principally addresses, and arguments in favour of progressive feminization (see below p. 00); Ends of Empire: Women and Ideology in Early Eighteenth-Century English Literature (Ithaca and London, 1993) 3.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Katherine B. Clinton, ‘Femme et philosophe: enlightenment origins of feminism’, Eighteenth-Century Studies 8: 3 (Spring, 1975) 283–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 8.
    Sylvana Tomaselli, ‘The enlightenment debate on women’, History Workshop Journal, 20 (1985) 101–24; 101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 9.
    In Elizabeth Eger et al., eds, Women, Writing and the Public Sphere, 1700–1830 (Cambridge, 2001) 239–56.Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    Harriet Guest, Small Change: Women, Learning, Patriotism, 1750–1810 (Chicago and London, 2000) 14.Google Scholar
  9. 11.
    On the first flowering of the discourse of feminization in France, see Carolyn C. Lougee, Le Paradis des Femmes: Women, Salons, and Social Stratification in Seventeenth-Century France (Princeton, 1976);Google Scholar
  10. Ian MacLean, Woman Triumphant: Feminism in French Literature 1610–1652 (Oxford, 1977);Google Scholar
  11. and for later developments, Joan B. Landes, Women and the Public Sphere in the Age of the French Revolution (Ithaca and London, 1988);Google Scholar
  12. Madelyn Gutwirth, The Twilight of the Goddesses: Women and Representation in the French Revolutionary Era (New Brunswick, 1992);Google Scholar
  13. and Dena Goodman, The Republic of Letters: A Cultural History of the French Enlightenment (Ithaca and London, 1994).Google Scholar
  14. 13.
    In addition to J.G.A. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition (Princeton, 1975),Google Scholar
  15. see, for instance, J.G.A. Pocock, Virtue, Commerce, and History (Cambridge, 1985) especially 48–50;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. essays by John Robertson and Pocock in Istvan Hort and Michael Ignatieff, eds, Wealth and Virtue: The Shaping of Political Economy in the Scottish Enlightenment (Cambridge, 1983);Google Scholar
  17. and Shelley Burtt, Virtue Transformed: Political Arguments in England 1688–1740 (Cambridge, 1992), who argues for the development in the early eighteenth century of ‘a privately oriented conception of civic virtue’, 35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 14.
    John Barrell, The Political Theory of Painting from Reynolds to Hazlitt (New Haven and London, 1986) 10. Barrell here makes reference to Stephen Copley’s positing of a ‘bourgeois’ humanism in Literature and the Social Order in Eighteenth-Century England (London, 1984) 3–7.Google Scholar
  19. 17.
    John Sekora, Luxury: The Concept in Western Thought, Eden to Smollet (Baltimore and London, 1977) 75. The more recent The Idea of Luxury: A Conceptual and Historical Investigation by Christopher J. Berry (Cambridge, 1994) contains a rather less incisive account of classical and eighteenth-century ideas.Google Scholar
  20. For a brief overview, see Maxine Berg and Elizabeth Eger, The rise and fall of the luxury debates’, in Maxine Berg and Elizabeth Eger, eds, Luxury in the Eighteenth Century: Debates, Desires and Delectable Goods (Basingstoke, 2003) 7–27.Google Scholar
  21. 18.
    Paul Langford, A Polite and Commercial People: England 1727–1783 (Oxford, 1989) 3–4.Google Scholar
  22. 20.
    The essays in Mary Peace and Vincent Quinn, eds, Luxurious Sexualities, Textual Practice 11:3 (1997) and in Berg and Eger, eds, Luxury in the Eighteenth Century, suggest a momentum towards re-evaluation.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Carolyn D. Williams, Pope, Homer, and Manliness: Some Aspects of Eighteenth-Century Learning (London and New York, 1993) 9.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    For a summary of his thesis, which has been put forward in several articles, see Ronald Trumbach, Sex and the Gender Revolution, Vol. 1, Heterosexuality and the Third Gender in Enlightenment London (Chicago and London, 1998) 3–18.Google Scholar
  25. For discussions of the limited validity of his characterization of ‘effeminate’ man, see Philip Carter, Men and the Emergence of Polite Society, Britain 166–1800 (Harlow, 2001) especially 144–7; and the essays by the same author, ‘An effeminate or efficient nation? Masculinity and 18th-century social commentary’, Textual Practice, 11:3 (1997) 429–44; and ‘Men about town: representations of foppery and masculinity in early eighteenth-century urban society’, in Hannah Barker and Elaine Chalus, eds, Gender in Eighteenth-Century England: Roles Representations and Responsibilities (London and New York, 1997) 31–57.Google Scholar
  26. 25.
    Michael McKeon, ‘Historicizing patriarchy: the emergence of gender difference in England, 1660–1760’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 28: 3 (1995) 295–322; 320.Google Scholar
  27. 26.
    See also Carter, Men, chapter 4; and G.J. Barker-Benfield, The Culture of Sensibility: Sex and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Chicago and London, 1992) chapter 3, both of which range more generally through the century.Google Scholar
  28. Anthony Fletcher’s Gender, Sex and Subordination in England 1500–1800 (New Haven and London, 1995) chapter 5, covers three centuries, but with no purchase on the socio-political connotations of ‘effeminacy’ deriving from the classical era.Google Scholar
  29. On effeminacy and franco-phobia, see Michèle Cohen, Fashioning Masculinity: National Identity and Language in the Eighteenth Century (London and New York, 1996) which includes a brief but valuable introduction to the concept and a review of recent work on it, 4–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 37.
    Lawrence E. Klein, ‘Gender, conversation and the public sphere in the early eighteenth-century England’, in Judith Still and Michael Worton, eds, Textuality and Sexuality: Reading Theories and Practices (Manchester and New York, 1993) 100–15; 104.Google Scholar
  31. For other work challenging the idea of separate spheres, see Amanda Vickery, ‘Golden age to separate spheres? A review of the categories and chronology of English women’s history’, The Historical Journal 36: 2 (1993) 383–414;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lawrence E. Klein, ‘Gender and the public/private distinction in the eighteenth century: some questions about evidence and analytical procedure’, Eighteenth-Century Studies 29: 1 (1995) 97–109;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Dario Castiglione and Lesley Sharpe, eds, Shifting the Boundaries: Transformation of the Languages of Public and Private in the Eighteenth Century (Exeter, 1995);Google Scholar
  34. Paula Backsheider, ed., The Intersections of the Public and Private Spheres in Early Modern England (London, 1996);Google Scholar
  35. Anne K. Mellor, Mothers of the Novel: Women’s Political Writing in England, 1780–1830 (Bloomington, 2000).Google Scholar
  36. 39.
    Sylvia Harcstark Myers, The Bluestocking Circle: Women, Friendship, and the Life of the Mind in Eigtheenth-Century England (Oxford, 1990) 121–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 40.
    Gary Kelly, ‘General introduction’, in Gary Kelly, gen. ed., Bluestocking Feminism: Writings of the Bluestocking Circle, 6 vols. (London, 1999) ix–liv, especially xlv–xlviii, and ‘Bluestocking feminism’, in Eger et al., eds, Women, Writing and the Public Sphere, 163–80.Google Scholar
  38. 41.
    Evidence of the discourse of civic humanism in Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) can be found passim in her praise for ‘masculine virtue’ and her remarks on the effeminacy of professional soldiers and the effects of consumerism. Note also the negative view of commerce in Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway and Denmark (1796), and her critique of the capitalist division of labour and the factory system in An Historical and Moral View of … the French Revolution (1794) in The Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, eds Janet Todd and Marilyn Butler (London, 1989) VI, 234. See Mary Taylor, Mary Wollstonecraft and the Feminist Imagination (Cambridge, 2003) for an excellent survey of her views on commerce; 154–75.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© E. J. Clery 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. J. Clery

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations