Women's Literary Networks and Romanticism


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Andrew O. Winckles is Assistant Professor of CORE Curriculum (Interdisciplinary Studies) at Adrian College. Angela Rehbein is Associate Professor of English at West Liberty University.

An Open Access edition of this book is available on the Liverpool University Press website and through Knowledge Unlatched. The eighteenth century witnessed the rapid expansion of social, political, religious and literary networks in Great Britain. Increased availability of and access to print combined with the ease with which individuals could correspond across distance ensured that it was easier than ever before for writers to enter into the marketplace of ideas. However, we still lack a complex understanding of how literary networks functioned, what the term ‘network’ means in context, and how women writers in particular adopted and adapted to the creative possibilities of networks. This collection of essays address these issues from a variety of perspectives, arguing that networks not only provided women with access to the literary marketplace, but fundamentally altered how they related to each other, to their literary production, and to the broader social sphere. By examining the texts and networks of authors as diverse as Sally Wesley, Elizabeth Hamilton, Susanna Watts, Elizabeth Heyrick, Joanna Baillie, Mary Berry, Mary Russell Mitford, Mary Shelley and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, this volume demonstrates that attention to the scope and influence of women’s literary networks upends long standing assumptions about gender, literary influence and authorial formation during the Romantic period. Furthermore, it suggests that we must rethink what counts as literature in the Romantic period, how we read it, and how we draw the boundaries of Romanticism.

'This is an excellent and eminently timely collection of essays, addressing a very real gap in scholarship. Both the guiding concept of the collection and its thoughtful organization attest to the critical, cultural, and scholarly acumen of the editors. The essays make a genuinely major contribution to scholarly inquiry, not just concerning ‘Romanticism’ in Britain, but also concerning women’s social, intellectual, aesthetic, and political affiliations.'
Professor Stephen C. Behrendt, University of Nebraska

Women’s Literary Networks and Romanticism is an important collection that I recommend to all scholars in Romanticism studies and history of the book and publishing, as well as women’s writing.’
Geraldine S. Friedman, European Romantic Review

‘Metaphors are our work, our capital, our nutriment, and our adhesive. The honey is sweet. I do wonder what happened to sugar. Work on eighteenth-century empire has migrated from the politics of such substances to philology, art, and figural practice; the bodies left behind are diseased ones, equally subject to obeah and galenic medicine. But if a hive, we are also, as Jonathan Swift skeptically aphorized in his 1704 satire The Battel of the Books, a web. The word of the year: networks. Meaning … what? Andrew O. Winckles and Angela Rehbein, editors of Women’s Literary Networks and Romanticism, like Susan Wolfson’s “web of reciprocally transforming and transformative creative subjects” (p. 8), and it’s a fine way to capture our increasingly disembodied, metaphor-minded, globalized, workaholic community of professional readers. God bless us every one.’
Jayne Lewis, Studies in English Literature 1500-1900

'[Women’s Literary Networks and Romanticism] represents a valuable contribution to work in this field, both complicating our understanding of the different manifestations of networks and the individuals within them, and encouraging future scholars to think of networks as other than solely epistolary exchanges.'
Colette Davies and Johnny Cammish, Romantic Textualities

Author Information

Andrew O. Winckles is an Assistant Professor at Adrian College. Angela Rehbein is Associate Professor of English at West Liberty University.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Notes on the Contributors9
1. Introduction: "A Tribe of Authoresses"13
2. Sisters of the Quill: Sally Wesley, the Evangelical Bluestockings, and the Regulation of Enthusiasm28
3. Susanna Watts and Elizabeth Heyrick: Collaborative Campaigning in the Midlands, 1820–3459
4. Ageing, Authorship, and Female Networks in the Life Writing of Mary Berry (1763–1852) and Joanna Baillie (1762–1851)85
5. The Female Authors of Cadell and Davies111
6. Modelling Mary Russell Mitford's Networks: The Digital Mitford as Collaborative Database149
7. The Citational Network of Tighe, Porter, Barbauld, Lefanu, Morgan, and Hemans208
8. Edgeworth's Letters for Literary Ladies: Publication Peers and Analytical Antagonists238
9. Mary Shelley and Sade’s Global Network257
10. ‘Your Fourier’s Failed’: Networks of Affect and Anti-Socilaist Meaning in Aurora Leigh286