Highlighting the remarkable women who found ways around the constraints placed on their intellectual growth, this collection of essays shows how their persistence opened up attributes of potent female imagination, radical endeavour, literary vigour, and self-education that compares well with male intellectual achievement in the long eighteenth century. Disseminating their knowledge through literary and documentary prose with unapologetic self-confidence, women such as Anna Barbauld, Anna Seward, Elizabeth Inchbald and Joanna Baillie usurped subjects perceived as masculine to contribute to scientific, political, philosophical and theological debate and progress. This multifaceted exploration goes beyond traditional readings of women’s creativity to add fresh, at times controversial, insights into the female view of the intellectual world. Bringing together leading experts on British women’s lives, work and writings, the volume seeks to rediscover women’s appropriations of masculine disciplines and to examine their interventions into the intellectual world. Through their engagement with a unique perspective on women’s lives and achievements, the essays make important contributions to the existing body of knowledge in this important area that will inform future scholarship.

chapter |12 pages


Nature's School
ByTeresa Barnard, Ruth Watts

part Part I|56 pages

An Engagement with Science

chapter Chapter 1|18 pages

‘To bring this useful invention into fashion in England'

Mary Wortley Montagu as Medical Expert
ByDaniel J.R. Grey

chapter Chapter 2|20 pages

The Lure of the Volcano in the Female Literary Imagination

ByTeresa Barnard

chapter Chapter 3|16 pages

Women's ‘reason' for a ‘rising generation’

Mary Wollstonecraft, Paediatric Science, and the Child of Nature
ByMalini Roy

part Part II|58 pages

Religious Discourses

chapter Chapter 4|16 pages

Anxiety, Authorship, Authority

The Maternal Feminine and the Divine in Hannah More's Sacred Dramas
BySusan Chaplin

chapter Chapter 5|20 pages

Rethinking Surrender

Elizabeth Inchbald and the ‘Catholic Novel'
ByKaley Kramer

chapter Chapter 6|20 pages

Veiled Exegesis

Dissenting Women's Aesthetic Approach to Theological Hermeneutics and Social Action
ByNatasha Duquette

part Part III|46 pages

Radical Women, Politics, and Philosophy

chapter Chapter 7|14 pages

‘A longing to enjoy my liberty'

The Patronage, Writings, and Picturesque Tours of Elizabeth Percy, 1st Duchess of Northumberland
ByLaura Mayer

chapter Chapter 8|14 pages

Coming Out of the Closet and Competing with John Anybody

The Bold World of Joanna Baillie
ByLouise Duckling

chapter Chapter 9|16 pages

‘France is a Republic'

The Canterbury Tales and Harriet Lee's Revolutionary Gothic
ByImke Heuer