Catharine Macaulay’s Histories of England: A Female Perspective on the History of Liberty

  • Karen O’Brien


From the mid-eighteenth century onwards, historical writing emerged as the most important written medium for rehearsing and contesting ideas about nature and social role of women. By the turn of the next century, women writers themselves started to play a shaping role in a historical literature which had moved beyond its traditional preoccupation with high politics, and was increasingly engaged with questions of gender, society and culture.1 This growing involvement of women writers in British historical culture was, in large part, the outcome of the thematic enlargement of history, and the new interest which male historians took in their female readers.2 Yet it was certainly facilitated and conditioned by the spectacular success of the radical historian Catharine Macaulay.


Moral Autonomy Woman Writer Historical Writing Female Reader Summary Chapter 
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© Karen O’Brien 2005

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  • Karen O’Brien

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