Standing Apart: The Untapped Potential of Enlightenment Feminist Aesthetics DRAFT Published 2012

Laura Mandell Department of English Miami University Oxford, OH 45056

Table of Contents Introduction. The Case: Psychological and Political Subjectivity 1. Virtue and Evidence: Catharine Macaulay’s Historical Realism (published in JEMCS) 2. Bad Marriages, Bad Novels: The “Philosophical Romance” (published in

Recognizing the Romantic Novel, eds. Jill Heydt-Stevenson, Charlotte Sussman, Liverpool Press, 2008, pp. 49-76) 3. 4. 5. The Politics and Poetics of Religious Melancholy: Anna Barbauld The First Women (Psycho) Analysts: Learning from History (published in MLQ) Sacred Secrets: Psychological Depth as Feminist Critique (a shorter version

published in Nineteenth-Century Prose) Conclusion. Developing Taste, Standing Apart


Introduction The Case: Psychological and Political Subjectivity In this book, I look at histories, novels, and essays written by Enlightenment feminists, Catherine Macaulay, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Hays, Eliza Fenwick, Amelia Opie, and Anna Barbauld. Like the contributors to Women, Gender and Enlightenment (2005), I am “interested in the ‘Enlightenment project’ broadly construed, rather than the high philosophical Enlightenment of earlier studies.”1 Though this book defines neither Enlightenment thinking in general nor Enlightenment aesthetics in particular,2 I put “Enlightenment” in the title in order to signal the book’s central problematic. I offer here one intervention in two debates. The first is between Jürgen Habermas, for whom Enlightenment did not so much fail as never complete itself, and postmodern theorists such as Michel Foucault for whom Enlightenment instituted typically invisible modes of social control.3 The second is internal, among feminists, who have productively found limits to the feminisms grounded in rationality.4 Based on work by Amanda Anderson who explicates and somewhat rehabilitates Habermasian ideas,5 and work by Julia Kristeva who explicates Freud as and transforms psychoanalysis into a counterEnlightenment discourse in the fully dialectical sense of bringing Enlightenment to a higher level – based on that work, I argue here that psychoanalysis can transform what might be called the “communicative irrationality” of these eighteenth-century feminist writers into comprehensible meaning that offers us an objective view of eighteenthcentury history. While the chapters of this book offer individual instances of realistic accounts to be found in these womens’ works, in this introduction, I explain how psychoanalytic feminist work can possibly achieve such objectivity.


For the oppressed, as women were at their historical moment, having no legal status and no political voice, speaking and writing is not self-expression, and more skill will not help. Language itself in a universal and abstract sense is not the problem, but rather context. At any historical juncture of inequality, those out of power cannot put themselves in the speaker’s position of power and remain who they are. One can be a feminist, but not a woman who inhabits a society without sexism. But their society’s refusal to grant them subjective powers of articulation is what gives these women writers the capacity to stand apart. It gives them greater objectivity. The absence of bias, or rather, their active shunning of it and our active shunning of it in reading them, comes not despite the fact that they are feminist writers and we – some of us – feminist readers, but rather because we share a concern with the oppression of women in sexist society. Moreover, their passionate response to inequity – their own psychical sufferings – coupled with the conviction that their own sufferings are exemplary prompts them to perform analyses in the way that psychoanalysis analyzes cultural problems that have emotional and psychical impact. Bertha Pappenheim, the famous “Anna O” who first launched psychoanalytic thinking for Freud in his work with Josef Breuer, clearly suffered from social constraints placed upon women as well as from mental illness.6 That her suffering was not purely “personal” was clear to Freud, to Pappenheim who went on to become an active feminist, and to us.7 Unfortunately, that Pappenheim and others like her suffer from political oppression has led to a celebration of her that transforms the formation of symptoms expressing her unconscious desires and real sufferings into conscious agency. Unconscious motivation becomes conscious intent, and not without significant loss to the


In her talk “Destruction of Humanism and the Humanities” given at the “Future Human” conference in Prato. First.8 To state the problem baldly. Though the unconscious cannot be purely political.very theory of the unconscious that makes possible Pappenheim’s cure.S. Juliet Mitchell berated U. to see these two people as pure victims of mental illness is to deny anything wrong with their society at all. literary critics and theorists for celebrating the breakdown of symbolization. Second. social. trauma theorists themselves perpetuate and repeat trauma insofar as they would preserve it as 5 . There are ways to differentiate political activism from mental illness while simultaneously acknowledging their connection. and political conditions go all the way down into the formation of subjectivity. Jacqueline Rose noticed as early as 1988 the danger of celebrating mental illness as political resistance. does Deleuze and Guattari’s celebration of schizophrenia mean that we should all abuse our children as Schreber was abused? But if to herorize Pappenheim and Schreber is to erase the unconscious from view with the consequence of pathologizing political action itself. recognize that some forms of defense against the oppressive character of these conditions are not pathological. We equate the Real with traumatizing violence to our political peril. her capacity to become an active feminist rather than a housebound hysteric whose politically resistant articulations were incomprehensible to everyone. including herself. shaping what it means to be a self in any given society. It is precisely this latter idea that is refused by American trauma theorists who ally trauma with the Real per se. Italy. For Mitchell. so that suffering quietly and campaigning for women’s suffrage are indistinguishable acts. recognize that contemporaneous economic. it cannot be purely personal either (Rose 23).

massive, transhistorical, and individual: to identify with trauma rather than attempting to articulate it makes you violent, she says.9 In condemning the Real to the realm of the inarticulable, trauma theorists resemble the modernists attacked by George Lukács in Realism in Our Time. The modernists, for whom “the theoretical impossibility of understanding reality is the point of departure,” “substitute [their] angst-ridden vision of the world for objective reality.”10 Modernists “escape into neurosis as a protest against the evils of society” (31). Modernists, Lukács says, and trauma theorists, I would add, “attribute distortion to reality itself” (76) rather than connecting it to their own elitism. Universalizing pathology is politically quietist, escapist, as well as distorting, and only “critical detachment” can restore a realistic, objective point of view as well as the possibility for political action. Both Lukács and Mitchell share a belief that there are non-pathological articulations of socio-political disorder, the former insofar as he insists that good political action is possible, the latter insofar as she is a psychoanalyst for whom articulation is in fact therapeutic. Symptoms disappear when analysands articulate their unconscious desires and what prevents them, restoring a critical awareness through which they can think about rather than compulsively re-enact their desires’ frustration, or can protest against the society that prohibits them. The critical distance necessary for both Lukács and Mitchell entails establishing subjectivity. Lukács names that subjecvitity “critical detachment”: The modernist writer identifies what is necessarily a subjective experience with reality as such, thus giving a distorted picture of reality as a whole [. . . .] The realist, with his critical detachment, places what is significant,


specifically modern experience, in a wider context, giving it only the emphasis it deserves as part of a greater, objective whole. (51) The possibility of realism [. . .] is bound up with that minimal hope of change for the better offered by bourgeois society. (68) Becoming a subject is not the same – not at all – as establishing an identity, an activity with which it is too often conflated. It is not about uncovering a list of repressed predicates that identify “me,” whoever that “me” is. Establishing one’s identity is all about self-objectification, about becoming an imaginary object to others as well as to oneself, and its political, therapeutic, and epistemological value are highly questionable. Rather, becoming a subject or developing critical detachment involves seeing what is wrong with one’s society and limited about one’s own point of view. It requires faith in progress toward utopia, “that minimal hope of change for the better offered by bourgeois society.” To see reality objectively thus requires utopianism, imagining “a wider context” in which everyone’s needs are being met. Psychoanalysis enacts that hope: there is an implicit millennialism in the act of lying on a couch since it involves imagining that one will live illness-free among people who do not require it. As John Forrester argues in discussing whether psychoanalysis is science, objectivity requires putting oneself in the position of the analysand, becoming patient to oneself: “To suggest that, in order to be truly objective, one should temporarily set aside the application of psychoanalytic hypotheses to oneself is to miss the force of the psychoanalytic method and of its theories.”11 Is that like Lukács’s claim? The kinds of psychoanalysis that require investigating the psychoanalyst’s counter-transference for the sake of objectivity recognize the violence of self-imposition and distortion in the


rationality that pretends to come from nowhere – the mode of speaking of Lukács’s “modernist.” In Dying to Know, George Levine offers an account of the modernist in keeping with this view. For Levin, Walter Pater refashions the ideal of scientific objectivity derived from empiricism as an aesthetics of self-abnegation: attempting to render art eternal involves disembodying it, Pater believes. In Levine’s account, Pater follows modern science in rewriting “detachment” as “dying,” (246), a “passionless passion” as Lorraine Daston puts it (“Baconian Facts” 58; Levine 269) or self-sacrifice of personal passions and desires at what is allegedly the altar of objectivity or eternal meaningfulness, that which gives “the aesthetic its more than personal authority” (Levine 246). George Eliot stands out as the main figure in Levine’s account of the modernist distortion of disinterestedness, the one who does not simply critique but in Daniel Deronda is able to imaging “alternatives to ‘dying’” as the means for “resist[ing] the powers of satisfaction to distort knowledge” (271), and, as I will demonstrate in this book, it is because she has so much more to lose in “the dream of desireless, disembodied knowledge” (281). While other narratives explored by Levine written in the tradition of nineteenth-century realism bemoan the abjuration of desire, its banishment from a subsequently disenchanted, rationalized world, more than feeling is at stake for Eliot in this “disembodied knowledge.” For Eliot as for the writers examined in this book, body is constitutive of rather than an impediment to knowledge. What Eliot knows that no other realists do, in Levine’s account, because of living in a body with culturally inflected significance (as my book shows), is that the author or narrative voice speaks not from on high but from a subaltern, fully embodied position analogous to Deronda’s in Eliot’s


novel. The voice of authority comes from someone “who has a life with conflicting commitments and desires” (191) and who is able nonetheless (or rather, especially) to attain to the disinterestedness and cosmopolitanism “by which the provincialism and blindness of [his or] her own culture might be transcended” (Levine 189). In the psychoanalytic scene, an allegedly disembodied analyst who hands interpretations down from on high, drawing solely on his or her own beliefs about patients as if those beliefs existed independently of his or her bodily existence, and primarily with that his or her psychically complicated relationship to the analysand, is caught up in the process of inflicting trauma by denying the reality of his or her own desires.12 The analyst colludes with patients in repeating their trauma in lieu of analyzing it. The locus classicus of the demand to analyze counter-transference can be found in Freud’s footnotes to the Dora case, and it is emphasized by Lacan and all post-classical analysts. Inflicting trauma can only be avoided by giving the patient a subject position from which to speak. Bertha Pappenheim went on after being cured of hysteria to become a feminist activist, and Mary Hays, after protesting against Godwin’s misunderstanding of “philosophical romance,” to write two feminist novels. Their “cures” involved attaining status as subjects of history. For both Lukács and psychoanalysis, then, the “critical detachment” necessary for objectivity requires recognizing the existence of an unconscious wish, and articulating precisely why one cannot articulate it except through pathology. It requires recognizing personal and social pathology, sorting them, apprehending their overlap. For example, a member of a marginalized group is forced to argue for his or her right to speak before speaking. A woman can state outright her desire to have a man’s job, but what she


why both might propose valuable reading strategies to be deployed at specific moments. the dialectic between the two enabling new kinds of insight. To call a subjective position “impossible” is not to call it unrepresentable nor inarticulable. now. In the work of JeanFrancois Lyotard. and b) that it can indeed be read otherwise. I have used a psychoanalytic vocabulary to capture that insight because I find it to be an effective means of opening up 10 . the subjective speaker inhabiting simultaneously her own world and the world she wishes to bring about. then. the blindnesses requisite for sustaining a dominant and dominating episteme. My goal has been to show a) how a particular textual moment of political resistance looks like madness/bad art. The real contradiction between Jurgen Habermas and the people whom he calls “neo-cons” and whom we call poststructualists has to do with the possibility as to whether certain kinds of oppressiveness are communicable or not. the “Differend” – a sublime and inarticulable terror – is precisely whatever must necessarily be repressed. but rather presented as the possibility for future articulation. In a sense. This is an impossible position. and what will have to be expressed through symptoms or complex theoretical articulations is the desire to not have to protest that one wants a man’s job because it isn’t one (because that bit of sexism has been eradicated) while simultaneously expressing anger at that (past) sexism.cannot state outright. The future is now: we can read it. this book shows how Habermas and Lyotard might come together – not in a “happy marriage.” but rather in a felicitous antagonism. an exclusive picture of universality that represses as unspeakable any opposition to it. This book locates the specific moments in texts – or even in lives surrounded by textuality – in which a blindness sustaining sexual oppression is not spoken exactly.

of anomalous combinations of circumstances—that. I examine primarily two genres for representing the impossible probability of utopian subjectivity – the subjectivity that would exist in a world of radical equality. In his analysis of the historical emergence of “the case. or do not seem to fall. Eighteenth-century works of conjectural history by David Hume. for any reason whatsoever. . . But. William Robertson. In this book. is the moral philosophy of cases— that is. Thus this question of a particular case fitting or not into a rule opens 11 . the philosophical romance represents not just sufferers who are victims. The first is conjectural history. but the case history capable of demonstrating not simply how people should behave but how society should change.the normative to reinterpretation while still acknowledging it inescapability as the basis for effective communication. Robertson. under the general rules of morality.”13 Connecting the case to casuistry highlights De Quincey’s “or do not seem to fall”: a good casuist’s argument might show that the exception does indeed fall under general rules if one modifies them a bit. During the Romantic era. the second “philosophical romance” – what is sometimes called the Jacobin novel. William Tytler. in countering Hume. do not fall. and Catherine Macaulay resemble in their willingness to recapitulate ontogeny as phylogeny Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents and Moses and Monotheism: they portray history only insofar as it can be put to the use of analyzing the present. Macaulay represents her own notion of the civic virtue or enactment of egalitarianism that will bring about the millennium as also granting her a more objective view of history.” James Chandler quotes De Quincey’s definition of “casuistry”: “Casuistry . and Tytler’s claims to greater historical realism.

one word yokes many simple ideas together in a complex relationship. a word connects to others via systematic structures of causality mirrored in logical grammar (cause and effect). one’s sense of reality is organized in accordance with the way words connect things in relationship with each other. but then there is one anomaly. all the scientific data from an experiment fall close together on a graph. In the 33rd chapter of Book II of Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding. The anomaly must be explained. for instance. In the case of simple ideas. it deviates from and still somehow exemplifies it. Sometimes in a scatter plot. Mightn’t that hypothesis be reformulated so that there are no exceptions. offers a “seeming departure from the principles of generalization”: it is “both an instance of and a challenge to” a generalization (296) – that is. the etymology of those two words referring to no more than persons of peasant stock. way off on its own. or the hypothesis is not really valid. added to the fourth edition in 1700. the problem of disagreement among people attempting to think together rationally arises because mixed modes are so often misused: ideas are inappropriately linked together— poverty with villainy and vulgarity. a belief arguably incipient in Lockean nominalism. For Locke. The act of explaining the anomaly always involves revisiting the terms of the hypothesis. In John Locke’s philosophy. Freud promulgates a belief that the abnormal sheds light on the normal. That yoking is individual and cultural. But in the case of mixed modes. Locke describes how individually-acquired associations are in fact a form of insanity. in accordance with the experiment’s governing hypothesis. a matter of relationships taught to a child through frequent exemplary uses of the word in the artificial world around him.up the rules to scrutiny. according to Chandler. The same happens with a scientific case. A 12 . no special cases? A case.

just like an individual’s insuperable melancholy or inexplicable aversion. feelings and behaviors that include unacceptable levels of suffering. do offer critical 13 . Categories became visible to Kant with a breakdown in the possibility of proving them to be true. Locke insists. Indiscernible to contemporaries because tacit. For Stanley Cavell following Locke. thereby setting up the individual as a bulwark on which to rest while critiquing culture. If those attitudes still prevail. It inadvertently proposes the possibility that cultural connections between ideas. Kant calls the categories of reason. a form of insanity. as many methods for organizing reality. Wittgenstein determines the cultural impact of grammar by staging linguistic breakdown. This chapter logically implies that any association not found in nature is questionable. a certain set of attitudes pre-determined the meaning of symbolic acts performed by women. are. Historically. when its forms no longer work properly. Cultural rationality becomes visible as it breaks down. no matter how widely shared. as there are complex words – “mixed modes” to Locke. but not predetermined in a way that objectifies the meaning-maker. In the Philosophical Investigations. there are things being said by eighteenth-century feminists that we still cannot hear. habitual assumptions. For Kant there are twelve. Unfortunately. culturally dominant modes of connecting ideas – culturally specific rationalities – are decipherable to us in historical retrospect only insofar as they are not still habitually assumed. What literary critics call forms. thereby refusing them subjectivity. What looks to us like insanity. there are as many categories. so do the assumptions depriving women of the subjective power to articulate their own meanings – meanings with affordances (limits and possibilities) to be sure. People can correct their mis-associated ideas.compulsive aversion to honey and inconsolable mourning are his examples.

it is really impossible for women to develop “normally” in civilized society: “normality” in women is rare enough to be classed an “abnormality. a “case” in the psychological sense of the word. As he begins to discuss women in “Female Sexuality” and “On Femininity.16 Notice that. valuing the marvelous. Attempts to understand a personal breakdown.” one realizes that. Freud insists that illness tells you more about normal psychic functioning than sanity.”14 Both “the case” and conjectural history are two Enlightenment forms of what Freud and his followers call metapsychology. the strange case. the awareness of reality production achieved at the moment of the break down of form gives us a sense of the real: an awareness of the breakdown of form. the curiosity. woman is its quintessential object – and moreover an object that has subjective power. force or allow us to see the limits of our meaning-making forms. for Freud. In Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. the power to instruct. Following out the logic of the Three Essays plus the two articles on female sexuality. one can say that examining (abnormal) woman tells us best how normal psychic functioning works. through turning his or her own 14 . logically. insofar as the abnormal is psychoanalysis’s best because most instructive object.15 Here he is completely an Enlightenment thinker. is “as real as it gets.purchase. she says. Metapsychology is the theory about “normal” psychic functioning as required by “civilization” in its current state. According to Frances Ferguson.” Not only are the odds stacked against successful Oedipalization for women. Any person suffering from mental illness has something to say which he or she cannot speak but can only express through symptoms. that women teach us what men should be. but woman has to be Oedipalized in an “inverted” way: she is an abnormal man.

The “witty butcher’s wife” so celebrated by Catherine Clément even produced a dream to contradict one of 15 . Freud managed to grant women subjectivity (19-20). The goal of metapsychology is to theorize the normal for the sake of providing future cures for humanity. In a recent book articulating the successes and failures of classical Freudian analysis vis-á-vis feminism. that is. as Chodorow points out.18 But while it is indeed politically suspect to insist that the exemplary psyche is male and heterosexual. Psychoanalysis transforms people from spoken objects into speaking subjects. of Dora’s feelings alienated her and caused her case to “fail” (18-19). they argued with him until he altered his theories producing those interpretations. the case is written up because it will. the author believes. in writing up his case histories especially about hysterics. it presupposes utopianism.body and life into signs. or (usually) both. But typically when Freud offered interpretations to his female patients. dispensed in a completely authoritarian style. Chodorow is of course right that Freud’s interpretation.17 Insofar as woman is its quintessential object. The goal of psychoanalysis is to get a person so speak – to subjectify someone who has objectified him or herself or been objectified by history. he gave them the power to be exemplary. the capacity for political voice and efficacy. Building upon that fact. there is an implicit kind of universalizing that occurs in documenting any case history. for men and women alike. whenever Freud wrote about women. Like work on the couch. it attempts to subjectify women. help future analysts understand their patients. Nancy Chodorow criticizes Freudian psychoanalysis for universalizing. In fact. the process of universalizing his patients’ cases by publishing them. his propensity to discuss his theories with his patients gave them subjective power. Chodorow mentions that.

insofar as they are held to be representative subjects. It is only politically retrograde to universalize the case of a dominating subject. I noticed in reading a recent case reported by Dutch psychoanalyst Nikolas Treurniet that in fact discussions of metapsychology. their agency circumscribed insofar as they suffer – is secured insofar as one can generalize from their case to humanity. to require that it become part of the picture. transformed hypnosis into free association.19 Becoming co-theorists of metapsychology enables realistic social-appraisal and selfarticulation by oppressed people: that is. Universalizing from their own cases. Even Barbauld does so.20 Second. It is during the Enlightenment that women began to see themselves as abnormal rather than underdeveloped humans. marginal. Frau K.Freud’s theories. Enlightenment feminists therefore stand apart in two senses. though for her such equality does not eradicate differences. exceptional. The subjective power of patients – by definition passive. It is during the Enlightenment that the marvelous exception and the single case first started to have epistemological power. To universalize the marginal. and fictions. First. poems. they are abnormal. it is a mode for those forbidden it to assume subjective power. of the theory of normal functioning proved by an analysand’s case. is to achieve historical objectivity through critical detachment. they take themselves to be social experiments in radical equality. 16 . the women writers examined here developed metapsychology in their histories. help the patient insofar as the analyst adopts her insights into his theory. as women. not a marginalized one. Co-theorists have the capacity to make an impact on history through successful and skillful articulation. which Freud at his best and Treurniet habitually do. “These are the times that try men’s souls” shaped a readership into a republic.

“virtue” is the name of a normative principle – being virtuous involves enacting justice. did not live to read. as is Amelia Opie’s Adeline Mowbray (1804) shows that these novels have aesthetic ambitions. she writes what I call “transferential history. as well as those written by Mary Hays. much to Wollstonecraft’s despair. These novels explore what the alternative form of sexuality might be and what kind of society must be constituted to accommodate it: they are philosophical insofar as they try to imagine what affective bonds might look like if there were political justice. I show that Macaulay’s notion of civic virtue as it is deployed throughout her texts informs Wollstonecraft’s understanding of it as articulated in the second Vindication that Macaulay.In chapter 1. Insofar as the taste for this feminist rewriting of the romance remains uncreated. I argue.” these novels propose an alternative form of sexuality to that put forward by male. promoting equality – that colors how one reads and writes history. a violence. As I argue in Chapter 2. That the philosophical romance could be written without proposing a Jacobin political program. Insofar as an historian is biased toward virtue. It is through writing transferential history that Macaulay is able to expose violence committed in the name of “objective” historical writing. For Macaulay.” texts that are intersubjective even or especially for readers of the future. do not in fact simply propose a political agenda but rather constitute a new genre that Hays calls “philosophical romance. the novels seem to 17 . that persists even after the conjectural history writing of the eighteenth-century cedes to more realistic historicizing modes.” As “romance. novel-writing “sensualists” who wish to sexually subordinate women. Mary Wollstonecraft’s so-called Jacobin novels.

Chapter 5 connects suicidal melancholy with an attempt on the part of women to mean what they say in a society that refuses them the subjective power necessary for it. and Fenwick left texts written TO that society which we can only properly read insofar as we see their aesthetic requirements and goals. Hays. I look at current arguments among theorists. Similarly. At our moment. I argue that. I argue that the aesthetic sensibility we need to appreciate them artistically is yet to be developed. both of whom seem almost to stalk their lovers. These thinkers thus show us the political potential 18 . now. In Chapter 4. In her own work. I elucidate the tenets of Barbauld’s Unitarianism by exploring her prose essays and her relationship to Joseph Priestley. Proper aesthetic feeling for these works by women writers is only possible in a society free of sexism: in a gender-neutral society. Wollstonecraft. she proposes a materialist millenarianism and employs artistic techniques designed to bring about the millennium by changing people’s feelings and attitudes. we can nonetheless intellectually understand the aesthetic goals formulated by these writers as well as their political “bad” aesthetically. In the conclusion. I argue that Coleridge’s and Lamb’s anger is directed at her largely because she rejects what she sees as a fundamentally a-political melancholy aesthetic. In Chapter 3. is in fact an insistence on living in the kingdom of ends – a society without sexism. these texts delineate for us most clearly the genderspecific contradictions operating both at their historical moment and ours. As such. primarily over work by Jürgen Habermas. aesthetics will no longer be mystifiying. about the value of Enlightenment thinking. what appears to be obstreperous and even somewhat psychotic behavior on the part of Mary Hays and Mary Wollstonecraft.

19 .of aesthetic discourse and offer yet another reason for attempting to complete rather than abandon modernity’s project.

--Mary Wollstonecraft21 Wollstonecraft herself carried these observations further in her Vindication of the Rights of Men. consistently misunderstood what both Macaulay and Wollstonecraft mean by “virtue. . . which is never found at variance with rectitude. [For Macaulay. for Macaulay. . The observations on this subject might have been carried much farther . As I will show. penned immediately after or concurrently with this review in November 1790. .24 nor completely congruent with the civic humanist view of James Harrington that it most closely resembles. Macaulay is a “sagacious writer” with whom Wollstonecraft finds herself “perfectly coinciding” (“Article 1. an ideological notion that arose in conjunction with political liberalism. .” 7. Like the civil-war Republicans who form the heroes of her History of England. Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792). if nowhere else. The subject of this chapter is Catharine Macaulay’s notion of virtue.Chapter I Virtue and Evidence: Catharine Macaulay’s Historical Realism “Morals must be taught on immutable principles. such devotion is personally rewarding rather than privative. a concept that has radical political potential – as seen. in the historical fact of Wollstonecraft’s productions and their indebtedness to Macaulay’s work. but for her. I believe.” From which position Mrs M[acaulay] infers – “That true wisdom. virtue is an . there is] No characteristic difference in sex. Feminist readers from Mary Hays in the 1790s. and in her later continuation of that work. Macaulay affirms the value of devotion to the public good.309) in this respect. is as useful to women as to men . . to Sally Alexander in the 1980s (128-129) and Susan Eilenberg at the outset of the twentyfirst century have.”22 Macaulay’s notion is not identical to bourgeois virtue.23 nor even congruent with the Jacobin or radical beliefs of her political circle.

it is a heuristic device as well for arriving at an objective understanding of the past. such as would further women’s emancipation as well as create a more humane society for all?”26 Such radical egalitarianism includes participation in the movement against cruelty to animals (the portion of Macaulay’s Letters with which Wollstonecraft is so taken in her review). puritanical. her definition coincides with Harrington’s view that virtues are political “powers. .27 But Macaulay’s “virtue” is more. There is some still untapped. the question posed by Seyla Benhabib and Drucilla Cornell: “what kind of a restructuring of [society] is possible and desirable . According to Hayden White. . Macaulay’s virtue is not only a principle of action: as a position from which one can represent the past. it generates historical realism. Rather. “virtue” is not a claim about the self.”25 Macaulay’s “virtue” is an ethical imperative to behave not just as a feminist.”28 Allowing “the bare facts” to speak requires that the historian 21 .and twenty-first-century feminist accounts of both Macaulay and Wollstonecraft. I would like to suggest. We have reached a crisis at our historical moment in politicizing historical and literary historical accounts. radical potential in Enlightenment feminisms. contemporary historians’ “notion of objectivity” is “quite different from anything that might be meant by that term in the physical sciences. misunderstand “virtue” by locating it in the wrong register. To reduce it to such a thing is to render it bourgeois. and. of course.absolute principle of radical equality in which society’s good and one’s own good and pleasure are consubstantial. For Macaulay (and later Wollstonecraft). Twentieth. while performing any activity. but with consistently applied egalitarian principles. not an identity. As an intersubjective principle. deluded. That is. The virtuous historian asks over and over again.

Projection . Yet. projecting “evil” onto them. it involved demonizing members of the opposing party. . feelings. . I will show instances of projective history and then show that the Georgian historians discussed in this chapter. writing from 1754 to 1803. . which the subject refuses to recognize or rejects in himself. . “objective” in the sense of non-partisan or impartial. In this chapter. . which can be synonymous with ideological. awkward visibility. at its worst moments. [or] wishes. in . to some degree.” or partisan in the sense of power-mongering. and “transferential. Thus our current theoretical problems with historical realism are traceable to eighteenth-century historiography. an accusation often leveled at Tories). but clearly.31 Party politics at this moment involved superstition and especially charges of superstition (one was a “papist” at heart.29 This crisis in the describing the historical object is most visible in what David Simpson calls “the sheer ubiquity.” or partisan in the sense of altruistic – understanding achieved through “virtue” as Macaulay defines it.”30 In White’s view. . superstition. The first is delimited by the psychoanalytic concept of projection as defined by Laplanche and Pontalis: In the properly psycho-analytic sense: operation whereby qualities. may be seen at work . I will discuss three kinds of history that appeared during the eighteenth century: “projective. participated in the 22 . the definition of objectivity that “is quite specific to modern historical theory” was fabricated during the eighteenth century (67). our own values and concerns into the past. and visible incompetence of arguments from situatedness.identify with the historical object and yet not impose upon it. . are expelled from the self and located in another person or thing. . we now accept as theoretical dogma that all of us are guilty of projecting. .

and Transferential History It is a pivotal moment in the history of the “modern fact. 23 . Ideological. and the repression of their violence. I demonstrate below the persistence of some chivalric modes of truth-telling within this allegedly more objective historiography. on more accurate examination.”33 Virtuous historical writing is one way to account for the historian’s existence and position without participating in those problematic “self-affiliation gestures” (Simpson 202) that we currently rely upon to alert others to our biases as well as to establish authority. allowing history (and the future) to speak to and through the historian or analyst who actively manages the distortions imposed upon reality by her own interests and desires. the Author.” Mary Poovey tells us. this chapter shows that Macaulay is able to demystify historical objectivity by using the third historical method described above. an absolute principle of radical equality can produce both Enlightenment feminism and historical truth.transformation of history writing from propounding party politics to an allegedly more impartial view. the transferential method. Macaulay’s sense of virtue is intimately tied to “the question of evidence.” 32 Finally. As Macaulay’s work demonstrates. when David Hume appends a note to the 1758 version of his essay “The Parties of Great Britain”: Some of the opinions delivered in these Essays. the second kind of history. with regard to the public transactions of the last century. I call this third historical method “transferential” because Macaulay’s principle of virtue allows her work to be intersubjective in the way that psychoanalysis is (ideally) intersubjective. that go into achieving modern notions of historical “objectivity. Projective.

Poovey insists. That additional sentence attempts to mitigate but in fact exacerbates the uncertainty Poovey rightly sees as generated by the original note: is unbiased history possible? The late eighteenth-century historians’ rhetorical efforts to achieve a much desired “impartiality” (Black 91) shifted historical writing’s goal from consciously held and explicitly articulated political agendas to ideology. at that time. nor is he ashamed to acknowledge his mistakes.”38 Attacking others by accusing them of evil conspiracies and thereby asserting one’s own besieged virtue is “projection” by any other name. almost universal in this kingdom” (72. They span (and join) two political crises and print events—“the Marian controversy”36 and the [French] Revolution controversy37—that stimulated rampant “conspiracy theories.35 The shift is partly due to the context of these historical writings. neither would he fetter his judgment by his own preconceived opinions and principles. 616nl). toward objectivity. Hume added a sentence to the end of this note in 1770: “These mistakes were indeed.found reason to retract in his History of Great Britain.34 The moment is indeed remarkable. Hume in effect describes the process of writing history as a cure for (party) bias: it is a return. These events therefore stimulated the degeneration of historical debates into projective histories in which the virtue of the historians determines the validity of facts. 24 . And as he would not enslave himself to the systems of either party. or at least a turn. the appended note marks more than that: “This retraction amounts to an admission that even the philosopher who claims to be superior to preconception and interest may be blinded by a bias he cannot see” (209). In this note. But.

Though not partisan. Nonetheless. and passionate misogyny actually abets the work done by these popular male historians to transform partisanship into an apparent objectivity that is ideological through and through. He presents. what is the difference between the way misogyny works in avowedly political. However. bare facts since the writer’s bias is evident. presumed. First. their histories are ideological (Phillips 19). why is sexualized misogyny necessary? The problem with facts. they must appear to have a veracity that is independent of that argument. otherwise they appear to be selected according to bias. Jayne Lewis’s work on eighteenth-century histories of Mary suggests that Hume’s dispassion and passion are allied in establishing their narrations’ “positivist air. according to some of his readers.”40 If projective histories visibly turn Mary into a voracious sexual predator. Hume and Robertson do so less visibly. is that.”39 Though Hume and Robertson seem to have removed the idealizing and demonizing passions from their histories. “queen Mary was a whore. or worse.Hume refuses partisanship in order to distance himself from projective history. this particular variant of misogynist figuration is (as I will show) still there in their works. Walter Goodall. Hume screamed in the ear of her defender.41 Political histories of the past or present do not need pure. histories that reveal and hide their political bias (respectively)? And second. fabricated. in an apocryphal story. I will show that they in fact persist. projective histories as opposed to the ostensibly objective. But its presence raises two questions. but truly ideological ones. in order to be most effectively enlisted as evidence in an argument. as Lorraine Daston has shown. and even itself testimony to a 25 . the most allegedly dispassionate and thus objective account possible of Mary Queen of Scots (Black 91-92).

is now free to marry her. a misogynous demonizing of woman as sexually insatiable is one way of ideologizing the political.narration’s truth. the fleeting thought that her brother-in-law. disparage it. but an idea is not repressible – not completely excludable from consciousness at the moment of becoming only a fleeting thought or vague intuition – unless it is sexual. she immediately represses it.” when they play virgin Elizabeth next to a sluttish Mary (or vice versa). from all perspectives. or whatever. In the case of Fräulein Elisabeth Von. precisely. find it distasteful.” and “pure. at the moment of her sister’s death.” “denuded. But Elisabeth would not have repressed nor fallen ill from the idea that she could now wear her sister’s red shoes. to whom she is sexually attracted. bringing into relief the female rake at the heart of every historical fact. so the problem for universalizing historians is. and will demonstrate how Hume and Robertson manipulate these sexualized facts for the sake of transforming projective histories into histories that appear to be comprised purely of “facts. Elisabeth has. Macaulay’s work makes visible the process of ideologizing in Hume’s and Robertson’s histories. Facts become intentionless by becoming “bare. In other words. though not necessarily because she 26 .42 But histories are ideological as opposed to political by seeming to be true universally.” That is. written by Freud. that they must denude their facts of all intentionality. one can reject an idea. falling ill with hysteria as a result. Contrasting Macaulay’s histories to Robertson’s and Hume’s exposes the misogyny that dogs allegedly objective evidence.43 I will show the sexualizing of facts by eighteenth-century writers engaged in writing projective histories. an idea made obnoxious by her love for her sister. Freud specifies that only forbidden sexual desires can be repressed. R.

Macaulay moves beyond Robertson and Hume. as do William Tytler and other defenders of Queen Mary. Macaulay’s histories are grounded in “virtue” as Macaulay defines it – not the saintly repudiation of female sexuality and retirement into a maternal private sphere. it is because she offers a kind of disinterestedness. it is the reality presumed by various histories and pamphlets. but a “manly” Republican virtue that consists in a passion for “equity. Even Robertson and Hume are guilty of that at moments.intended to do so. in this context. .” traditionally denominated “transference” in psychoanalytic theory: “The analyst’s focus is on the interpretation of psychical reality.” In my view. to the allegedly objective. . . Macaulay does engage in projective history. She does not simply move from projection to ideology. Schafer continues in a way that makes clear that the transferential historian will not engage in projective history. will not respond to the content of an assault by another historian. one that is not established upon the foundation of repressed denigration.” Schafer speaks of the reality of the patient. Along with Mary Hays. Roy Schafer best describes what “the analyst analyzes. as they do: her work is also at certain moments genuinely demystifying in ways that were to be extraordinarily productive for feminism. to the charge of conspiracy: With this focus the analyst is not obliged to respond in kind to the analysand’s [historians] emotional overtures. viz. ideological kind. it is precisely this passion that makes her into a psychoanalytic historian. overtly partisan history. Rather. Macaulay works like a psychoanalyst. whose Female Biography is also discussed here. refusing to be drawn into history’s repetitions. But just as the latter two manage to move beyond projective. At these moments. By not responding in 27 .

with it.kind I mean. I will show that what Macaulay defined as “virtue” modifies Republican notions of virtue touted by Machiavelli and Harrington but also differs dramatically from later notions. . can be uttered and heard. As a rule. Macaulay’s virtue provides the ground enabling her to see both the sexual and intellectual assault (“love” and “retaliation” in Schafer’s terms) at the heart of new notions of objectivity promulgated by late Georgian history.”47 When one turns to the philosophers analyzing that fundamentally Republican school of ethics. one confronts literally a wall of men’s names spanning twenty-five centuries:48 Macaulay is the only woman among them. sometimes couched as “chivalry” – Macaulay creates a context in which the desires of “the excluded and the extinct. Instead of only engaging in counter-attacks against historians’ misogyny – sometimes overt.44 Virtue is less a quality for Macaulay than a stance promoting historical altruism and. not meeting love with love or rejection or exploitation. This chapter shows one profound difference made by uttering Republican principles from a female body. Public and private at the same time.”45 history’s losers. state-mandated virtue nor the privatized. 28 . .49 in particular its incitement to the Enlightenment feminists Mary Hays and Wollstonecraft. It is neither Robespierre’s public. If impartiality is an achievement that could potentially benefit politically sensitive postmodern criticism. .46 we may well be interested in Macaulay’s “moral perfectionism. for example. responding in kind impedes the work of analysis. true objectivity. not meeting anger with retaliation or self-justification or appeasement . domesticated virtue of Republican motherhood.

achieve historical sense certainty. the passions that affect one’s powers of observation become an accessory to truth rather than 29 . having a true vision of the world) through paranoid projection onto others of partisan distortion and conspiratorial designs. Into the Evidence Against Mary Queen of Scots. in her Observations II. Historical and Critical. Their belief that their own “disinterestedness” makes them better historians than the “partisans” they attack. of conspiracy theories and paranoia.”50 Both sets of historians. establish a difference between themselves and the paranoid historians whom they “combat” (30) to quote Tytler. As Macaulay puts it in Charles I.Projective History One can see projection at work both in what William Tytler in 1790 dubs “the Marian controversy” (17) as well as what we have come to call the Revolution controversy. . and Macaulay. both Tytler in his 4th. then. In 1790. an onslaught of pamphlets begin to appear in which the historian is established as good and right (that is. Politically opposite in inclination. however. depends upon seeing other historians as morally vicious.” his enthusiasm or superstitions pervert history. faulty historians are not so much mistaken as purely bad: they are “advocates for more atrocious acts of wickedness [who] give the lye to moral sense .” – in short. When the historian is virtuous. but at the expense of projecting depravity onto a group of others – at the expense. to quote Macaulay’s Observations II. with the publication of a new edition of Tytler’s defense of Mary Queen of Scotts and of Macaulay’s attack on Burke. they are “depraved. albeit on opposite sides of the political fence. When the historian is a member of an opposition party or a “papist. 1790 edition of Inquiry. and with whom they wage “war” (55) to quote Macaulay. . that is.

whilst I could exult over it in real life. Elizabeth and philosophical revolutionaries. At the same time. to contemplate without emotion [Marie Antoinette’s] elevation and [her] fall! . than that of discovering the truth . . (Tytler 11-12. Under this predicament the Author of the [present] Inquiry found himself. respectively. . and it does so by portraying as “virtue in distress” (Phillips 65) another Queen of suspect virtue. what generous breast would not endeavor. 25) Oh ! What a revolution! and what an heart must I have. are strikingly similar: [T]he author considered the present subject . and demonizing the bad. innocence oppressed will raise it into a flame. . I should be truly ashamed of finding in myself that superficial. In 1790. Mary and Marie Antoinette. . Tytler’s and Burke’s self-justifications for idealizing their good objects. theatric sense of painted distress. Marie Antoinette. if such a spectacle were exhibited on the stage. . for the honour of the sex. – Some tears might be drawn from me. .its adversary. .51 30 . . a book resembling Tytler’s in another way as well: it describes the French Revolution as a conspiracy. he adds:] The love of justice is imprinted in the breast of every man. if in his power. Tytler’s reverence for “the antient constitution” of Britain brings to mind Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France. to rescue an unfortunate and injured princess from a load of infamy that has been thrown upon her? [1760. If there be a latent grain of native virtue in the human heart. with no other view.

staking their claim to virtue on their capacity for compassion – for having the facts rouse vehement passions in them. Compare Wollstonecraft. must have its caps and bells. or for the downfall of queens. turns this ironic exculpation into charge. and those vulgar characters which compose the “swinish multitude.” is held at no value in his account. of course. I perceive. contrasting themselves against “conspirators” who assault these two distressed damsels. is to point out that some facts and not others arouse Burke’s passions: When we reflect that such dreadful [imperial] purposes can never be effected without the effusion of oceans of blood. Burke. In this truly paranoid hermeneutic circle. Macaulay and Wollstonecraft both know. for the declamation of the theatre. and throws a graceful veil over vices that degrade humanity. All one has to do to expose this circularity. very naturally considering your character. whose rank alters the nature of folly. whilst the distress of many industrious mothers. and the hungry cry of helpless babes. the lives of plebeians. conviction. whose helpmates have been torn from them. they both claim to be able to dispassionately appraise the truth because they are more virtuous.Tytler and Burke stake their own veracity on their capacity to feel for persecuted virtue. unless by a strange modification of sympathy. writing her pamphlet slightly before Macaulay’s was finished:52 Misery. (Macaulay. guilt. your tears are reserved. of such an invidious intention we must certainly exculpate Mr. to reach your heart. 31 . Observations II 92) Quoting Burke’s infamous phrase for the revolutionaries.

54 Here Burke does not misperceive but in fact deliberately misrepresents (43) the state of affairs in France for the sake of securing his own libertine interests. intimating that Burke is secretly a Papist. as is partly visible in these quotations. Burke had characterized the French aristocrats who welcomed the revolution as “philosophic spoiler[s]” (Reflections 273). just as those in the Marian controversy attack either Elizabeth or Mary to discredit other historians. In Macaulay’s account. “bigotry” causes misperception. “to make us proud of all the virtues we do not possess. “The tears that are shed for fictitious sorrow are admirably adapted.”53 Both Wollstonecraft and Macaulay attest to the selectivity of Burke’s sensibility: some kinds of suffering are visible to him. others are not. For both Macaulay and Wollstonecraft then. Wollstonecraft protests Burke’s investment in “arbitrary authority and dark traditions” (Vindication I 37). she counters by describing their “virtuous enthusiasm” (Observations II 23). But then. in that case.were vulgar sorrows that could not move your commiseration. and indeed.” says Rousseau. though they might extort an alms. Macaulay wonders what “secret passions” motivate Burke and his party (6): Burke’s pamphlet attempts to “captivate” its readers’ affections (5. 53) just as his “imagination” has been “captivate[d]” by “the charms of the Queen of France” (53). Denuding them of interest. Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Men impugns the Queen’s virtue as a way of demonizing Burke’s compassion for her. it is Burke’s virtue that is questioned more than the Queen’s. 32 . Burke’s facts are selective and deformed because both he and his object are vicious. they diverge paths.

as if they were shed for a person who had attained much nearer to pure virtue. they sympathize with object proven maleficient – the bad guys. but it is also a rhetorically effective means for establishing their own objectivity.” while warning his readers that “we” should not “approve of our tears. Instead of empathizing deeply with the object proven virtuous by their historical narrations of pure fact. 33 . even more chivalrous than Burke and Tytler. and thereby (ideally) establish one’s own position as inassailable – how to render one’s facts inert rather than impassioned. Hume says in his autobiography (1777). as Burke does with Marie Antoinette and Tytler with Mary. Hume and Robertson were able to break out of projective history through a very specific rhetorical technique. Similarly. Impartiality and Chivalry The problem confronting eighteenth-century historians was how to break out of projective historicizing.Insofar as paranoia is objectivity’s bedfellow. Hume “shed[s] a generous tear for the fate of Charles I” even though writing a history that faults the Stuarts for introducing corruption into the constitution. Robertson pauses a moment over Mary’s “tragical distresses. then the virtue of the historian is always implicitly at stake.”55 This passage contrasts starkly with Burke’s on Marie Antoinette. Such gallantry is chivalrous. Thus. This rhetorical gesture produces a realism effect. “I commenced” writing the History of England. proffering to readers both sympathetic identification with the woman whom his narrative accuses of conspiracy and a warning idealizing her too much for the sake of allowing one’s sympathy to be a sign of one’s own virtue.

capable of serving the cause of truth no matter what the cost. in fact his ideas are Whig. and after the first ebullitions of their fury were over. I expected popular applause. Scotch. and the cry of popular prejudices. and the Earl of Strafford. proves himself. . The author who empathetically identifies with everyone’s fall guy. I was. freethinker and religionist. that had at once neglected present power. authority. . I thought that I was the only historian. If in chivalry. and . . what was still more mortifying. . interest. like a chivalrous knight. Whig and Tory. (Essays xxxvi-xxxvii) Hume’s alleged misery over the book’s fate belies his pride: if indeed he is maligned by everyone. patriot and courtier. But miserable was my disappointment: . his 34 . I thought.with the accession of the House of Stuart. the book seemed to sink into oblivion. an epoch when. the historian’s virtue is exhibited through bowing before the facts. the misrepresentations of faction began chiefly to take place. I own. even those he or she dislikes. and Irish. sanguine in my expectations of the success of this work. churchman and sectary. one’s virtue is exhibited through conformity to God’s will in an ordeal. Though Hume himself claimed to be a Tory in feeling and a Whig in thought (much as did Walter Scott a quarter-century later). Here Hume takes a tactic that lifts his history – which slowly grew on people. Charles I. English. becoming much more popular by the century’s end – out of the paranoid hermeneutic circle. then he was in fact writing a history that served no present power or interest – not even his own “ruling passion” for “literary fame” (xl). united in their rage against the man who had presumed to shed a generous tear for the fate of Charles I.

I hope to have demonstrated.56 Crucial to this argument is noticing that chivalric history produces objective fact by preserving a sexualized misogyny – the desire to love and retaliate – not in content but in method. to empathize with the intentions and motivations of actors impelled by beliefs and values that may differ totally from anything the historian might himself honor in his own life. . and their rhetorical construction of the historian’s objectivity through a chivalric attitude toward facts is. the imagination is disciplined by its subordination to the rules of evidence . even when he cannot condone. writing history means being a champion as in a medieval joust. Here . Hume and Robertson do not delineate ravishing and 35 . submitting to the intentions of the fact as the knight submits to divine will. . As objective historians. one of them. If Hume’s and Robertson’s histories were not modern in many ways – Hume’s was a “philosophic history” (Phillips 49-51) dedicated to proving “certain philosophical convictions from which he started as first principles. the most bizarre social and cultural practices. . . .” and it was “mawkish[ly] sentimental” (Black 93) – they were modern in others. . performing feats of “passive obedience” and recognizing the fact’s “indefeasible right” to absolute sovereignity. . and to understand.rhetorical method “Tory” in the chivalric sense that Hume himself defined it (Essays 70). This chivalric rhetorical mode equally defines the modern historian: [T]he historian’s task [is] to enter sympathetically into the minds or consciousnesses of human agents long dead. . (White 67) In the “modern historical theory” of objectivity here described by Hayden White.

Entitled Thoughts on the Causes of Present Discontents (1770) and from her Letters on Education published exactly two decades later.58 But from this idea Macaulay draws very distinctive conclusions. She insists God has made humans “fully adequate” to the task of establishing its own present “security and happiness” (Observations I 8) insofar as they can – now. demands.59 It is in its presentism that Macaulay’s millennialism (Withey 59.57 I will then illustrate how it informed her history writing. She shares with Barbauld the idea that to presume that God wants. shortly before her death. Right Reason as Public Virtue In order to achieve historical objectivity. but in a different way than the chivalric. Her thinking is strikingly original: it differs not only from her predecessors’ notions of Republican virtue but from those subscribed to by her fellow radicals among the Wilkites and radical reformers of the London Society for Constitutional Information (Withey [see note 36] 60) in whose meetings she participated. they rush into their bedchambers and stab their beds with detecting historical pens. Both of them reject the Calvinist notion of a “capricious” God who operates like a feudal tyrant. her Observations on a Pamphlet. garnered mainly from a pamphlet answering Burke’s justification of party politics. Catharine Macaulay also champions virtue. at this moment in history – both “understand and obey the principles of truth” (Observations II 16). Observations II 20) differs from 36 . I first elucidate her notion of public virtue. The true singularity in Macaulay’s thinking about virtue lies in two of her ideas about how public is connected to private virtue.ravished damsels. and enacts anything other than absolute justice “would be unworthy the idea we ought to form of God” (Observations I 8).

while it is true that “public liberty” (Observations I 12) will be extended as more people become virtuous.. Priestley.” Macaulay had been left alone to expatiate at will through her father’s library (Hays [see note 29] ii. 276. acting on the notion that one’s own interests are best served by universal “equity” (Letters 275) rather than “private [i. nor beyond the abilities of man. rather than general because people fear change (Observations I 9). and Godwin. 273). For Macaulay. also millennialists: while many of her contemporary Dissenters saw such a moral capacity as developing with the gradual improvement of society through education. it presumes that people need only to be addressed reasonably to behave well now.e. it is only that they are currently “individual. But unlike Arabella. her system of education is therefore not designed to bring about the social reform that would make a society of moral beings in the future.” she says. it is also true that behaving virtuously – which is to say. rather.similar ideas proffered by Price. Macaulay tires of reading Romance: 37 . Hays implicitly criticizes this view by imputing it to a youthful enthusiasm born of Macaulay’s cloistered upbringing: like Lennox’s “Female Quixote. Acting in accordance with “just ends is neither morally impossible in itself. selfish] interest” (Observations I 9) – and benefiting from it are possible now. Macaulay sees each individual as capable of adhering to principles of truth now.156).” achieved by various perspicuous individuals. In her life of Macaulay. All that will change in the future with the improvement of society is that government will conspicuously reward people for following their true interest. itself becoming a primary educator as the value of virtuous action and by that means “extending the bounds of good” (Letters 271-272. identifiable with the public interest.

by concentrating its force. and even less in whether Macaulay herself was able to live as a virtuous woman – though that question fascinated her contemporaries. 38 . . She does not answer that charge by defending herself. . she insists that her critics “prove” as “non-existing” the human virtue that springs from recognizing an identity between one’s own happiness and the public good. with its lax principles and vicious habits. both in Macaulay’s time and in our own. she shifts the radical position to the authoritative.60 Its brilliance lies in its perlocutionary effects:61 rather than assaulting authorities and thereby more deeply defining and entrenching their edicts.[H]istory became her darling passion. Rollin’s Ancient History . requiring its detractors to defend themselves. To a spirit thus excited. enamoured of truth and virtue. Its brilliance lies not in whether it is true or false. .157) But Macaulay had already answered such a charge in 1770. added strength: the world. “Oh youth! the lovely source of generous errors!” (Hays ii. Instead. and liberty the idol of her imagination. retirement. In her attack on Burke’s defense of the British party system. . as a woman. and ignorant of the difficulties which retard and obstruct their progress. she had not “been engaged in the practical parts of [government] administration” and so would be too “apt to [propose ideas] incompatible with the gross and vicious nature of human affairs” (Observations I 7). first lighted up that spark in her mind . I think it would be hard to overestimate the brilliance of this claim for radical politics. had not yet broken in upon the gay mistakes of the just expanding heart. she imagines that readers will disregard her views because.

Whether one agrees or not with her arguments about pleasure. and ease are pleasures to which people are “accustomed” (Observations I 9). the artifices of philosophical reasoners] rooted out of their minds.e.” for the sake of furthering their own “private interests” (Observations I 89). wealth. evidence that Macaulay is exactly right to identify the proposition that divine happiness is only possible in the next world with self-serving designs. when they come up against the fact of their society’s inequitable distribution of goods]. Private interests are a poor substitute for the happiness and pleasure one gets from realizing the identity of one’s own and society’s well-being: the satisfactions of prominence. the success disproportioned to the endeavour [i.. (372) Burke here clearly states that the notion of happiness in the afterlife can be used to serve aristocratic interests: promising eternal life in heaven is a way of getting the people to do more than their fair share of labor for less than their fair share of the benefits.Macaulay alleges that those who insist that such virtue does not exist do so out of “sinister views. they must be taught their consolation in the final proportions of eternal justice. as they commonly do. power over others. They must labour to obtain what by labour can be obtained. Macaulay rightly maintains that one must insist that happiness for everyone is possible on earth now 39 . but they are less pleasurable than living in accordance with the principle of equity. They must respect that property of which they cannot partake.. and so fear to relinquish. and when they find.e. as Burke’s Reflections amply demonstrate: The body of the people must not find the principles of natural subordination by art [i.

you prove that a Republic founded upon human virtue is impossible by showing definitively that the virtue necessary for sustaining it does not exist. Though immersed in attacking Burke as “the mouth of faction” (Observations I 14). whether she really believes it or not. is bound up with that minimal hope of change for the better offered by bourgeois society”63 – that is. her idea is also scientific. it might be false. Georg Lukács explicitly says that rendering realistic portraits of a society (past or present) requires utopianist thinking as a heuristic device: “The possibility of realism . into a heuristic device rather than a positive claim. But though Macaulay’s paranoia is therefore correct. she disengages from projective history by asserting analytic neutrality as Schafer defined it above ( order to prevent “sinister” designs such as Burke’s. she resists loving it by asserting it as a positivity and refuses to retaliate against those who reject it. Instead she says to her critics. Letters 274) that 40 . She does so by refusing to prove that people are fundamentally good and that celestial happiness is possible on earth (Observations II 55). 22): her proposition might be true.62 Though immersed in and responding to party politics. with the desire to carry on “the glorious work of improvement” (Macaulay. its genius lies beyond detection of the sinister: Macaulay transforms her proposition that an equitable society beneficent to all is possible now. whether such a possibility really exists or not. . Coinciding with Macaulay’s political premises. Though fears of conspiracy fuel its formulation. . Macaulay is partisan in the best sense of the word. It operates according to the rules that scientists habitually rely upon in which a hypothesis is valid if useful until disproven. partisan to the oppressed people whom Burke wants to dupe.

as Withey maintains. . . . “us[e] history . Realistic History Macaulay remains disinterested in her political arguments by basing them on universal human virtue that.” J. And similarly. . which rendered “her account of the Army’s revolution between 1647 and 1649 . . G. she claims. . However. is necessary to presume until disproven. and that Macaulay’s history is much more philosophical (in the 41 . [T]hat men must be judged in part by the circumstances in which they lived was completely antithetical to Macaulay’s moralistic point of view” ([see note 44] 74).promised to gradually usher in the millennium formulated by the eighteenth-century radical Dissenters within whose circles Macaulay moved. as an illustration of man’s moral character” (74). How does Macaulay conduct transferential history? Though recognizing that Macaulay’s research methods outstripped those of her contemporaries. Pocock laments that Macaulay’s “historiography is still rhetorical and humanist” in comparison to Hume’s much more “innovative” “philosophical” history (252-254). Macaulay’s History does indeed read like a collection of extremely moralistic character studies of politically important men64 fabricated for didactic ends typical of history writing before Hume’s and Robertson’s works revised the genre (Phillips 14-19). when one reads Macaulay’s “Hints towards the Education of a Prince. .65 I would like to suggest that she did not. one realizes that her didacticism differs dramatically from the classical. A. the best written in the eighteenth century and perhaps well into the nineteenth. Lynne Withey faults Macaulay for writing history as a history of characters: “The real reason for her antipathy to Hume lay in her view of individual morality as a primary force in shaping history.” Letter 25 of her Letters on Education.

whose mind must be corrupted by the designing sycophants who crowd about him before his reason is sufficiently strong to perceive the difference between vice and virtue. when still small children. Locke’s psychology tells us that culture makes us mad. Taken to its logical conclusion. Someone who grows up seeing poverty continually associated with immorality – neither a logical nor a natural association – becomes a very poor thinker. In Lockean and Hartleyian associationist psychology. rather. to sum up all. She argues that the cultural institution of monarchy causes kings. surrounded from the instant of his birth by fawning courtiers? A being. . and of the relation in which he stands to the people whom he is to govern. a being. (224) As the letter describes in greater and greater detail what is necessary for developing “a patriot king” (225). set up as a pageant for the idolatry of the public.66 It is on this foundation that Macaulay recommends isolating future kings from courts and society.eighteenth-century sense of the word) than might at first appear: she presumes associationism. . since they can be corrected. And. to be surrounded by unnatural circumstances that deform their capacity for reasoning rightly beyond the power of any tutor to intervene: [F]or what great effects can even a wise man produce by the most assiduous attention to the education of a being. A being. it is that habitually misassociating ideas may pervert a person’s capacity for reasoning itself. the worst thing about habitual misassociations is not the associations themselves. treated with ceremonies which from their nature must destroy every just idea of self. . its tone gets more and more ironic about “my philosophic prince” 42 .

the people might receive benefit. until monarchy is limited or abolished. a measure of her impossible moral standards. This is a covert argument for democracy. Macaulay’s point becomes clear: “could we be sure of a line of philosophic princes. and thus seems to engage in traditional character history. In Macaulay’s History of England.” “If a society would reap any advantage from the personal virtues of their prince. at a certain moment. under 43 . from the plenitude of power” (231). but the conditions following it are life apart from the court at an early age. Rather. and then continued throughout life. Withey notices that Macaulay’s “most common explanation for corrupt behavior was lack of the proper type of education. the conditionality of the sentence negated by the ridiculous measures enumerated in the rest of the letter: “could we” really means “we can’t.” Macaulay intones. What king can live apart from court? Thus the stringent list of moral requirements that follows her “if” is not. it shows that the fault of a monarchy is structural: monarchy is a form of government that only works well if kings achieve a state of moral perfection which they cannot achieve if they live as monarchs. But while put off by Macaualay’s apparent moralizing over vicious kings. under monarchy. she clearly delineates the vices of kings.(227). rather than injury. Macaulay’s interlocutor even protests that people such as these are only “characters to be found in the regions of romance” (228-229). and also. history will be the history of corrupt kings. That is. never did she accuse anyone of being inherently evil” (65). as Pocock and Withey maintain. I would suggest that Macaulay’s History is precisely philosophical in its attempt to prove two democratic points: monarchical systems necessarily educate kings so that they are unfit to serve. people other than kings are more perfect morally for the good reason that they can be. or not only. Suddenly. given that they are not raised as monarchs.

While I cannot prove that suggestion here. described above. shuffling. focused on the question of Charles I’s chastity.”70 As in Robertson and Hume.”69 To do so. That is. I do want to show in concluding this chapter an instance in Macaulay’s History of her opting for a transferential rather than projective historical mode. this alleged emotional investment makes her assault on Charles I’s character appear to be waged against her will out of a purely chivlarous devotion to the facts. of shedding a generous tear for the enemy – virtually quoting Hume’s autobiography that had appeared four years before her account of Charles: “I shed many tears whist I was writing this catastrophe. Macaulay both does and makes history. disingenuous slave to bigotry and love of power. of her assuming and then suddenly eschewing the chivalric method of objectifying historical fact adopted by Robertson and Hume. and in contrast to merely projective historians like Burke and Tytler. I believe. a significant impact on the history of feminist thinking. The “Male Rake”67 One reviewer comments on Macaulay’s portrait of Charles I that “[she] seems to think it possible that a great monarch may be a low. But to accomplish her philosophical task of demonstrating that monarchy as a cultural institution unfits people to be virtuous “patriot kings.”68 More than possible: probable. that has had. virtuous people don’t get to make history. It is this particular instance of transferential historicizing. 44 .” Macaulay must demonstrate to her readers that her history is not merely a Whiggish assault on an overbearing monarch – as it was taken to be by Pitt who proclaimed it in the House of Lords “an Antidote to [Hume’s Tory] poison.monarchy. she adopts Robertson’s and Hume’s rhetorical strategy. in characterizing Charles.

Her sentence declares that overzealous chastity is just as bad as promiscuity. “and were it allowed. . including Hume (v. The comment is quite striking. “independence of mind” is the goal of chastity. even if he didn’t. In her Letters. but. he was still just as vicious as if he had. That describes the philosophical content. as delineated in her Letters on Education. men” (220). it was tainted by an excess of uxoriousness which gave it the properties and the consequences of vice” (History iv. critics were agitated that this criticism “came from a ‘lady’” (Hill 34). and [is] still preserved in society from the unruly licentiousness of . If. . chastity.291). “His chastity has been called into question by an author of the highest repute. as Macaulay maintains. given her gender.” Macaulay says. Macaulay actually says that Charles either had affairs or didn’t. Macaulay advises teaching daughters of “the purity and independence of mind” that results from chastity but without deluding them about the origin of the double standard which “did in all probability arise from women having been considered as the mere property of men. the consequences of this statement about Charles for both historiography and history can be seen only in a slow- 45 . a proposition that only makes sense if one understands what she would have us say to women about chastity. then it makes perfect sense that promiscuity or uxoriousness would impair Charles I’s morality: in either case.In fact. Why? Because he loved his wife too much. Macaulay writes. Macaulay too completely assumes the knight-historian’s position.395). independence would be sacrificed. Most startling to reviewers was Macaulay’s assault on Charles’s chastity: even though Charles I’s chastity was a focus for many historians. But the feminist action of her statement goes beyond its content. However. and that a woman presumed to pronounce on such content.

But arguably it is precisely this analogy that makes earlier reviewers of Macaulay’s History so uncomfortable. from resisting the temptation to love her own party’s version of the facts and to retaliate against the absolute monarchist. the pen is poised to stab through the curtains surrounding his bed.” writes.291). who after having stripped him of all other virtues. Susan Staves has demonstrated that Macaulay’s historical writings necessarily “make the analogical leap from men’s political and civil rights to women’s . one that helps us to make sense of her much earlier statement about Charles I.). Macaulay could at this moment make a property of him. . if he wasn’t adulterous. part of its rhetorical effect comes from resisting power. Macaulay instead redefines “chastity. . She says. who describes his uncommon fidelity (History v. At the moment of refusing to project evil onto Charles. he is attacking her 46 . rather. or for Hume. Macaulay does not say that Charles was or was not unchaste.” whether she explicitly says so or not. or not only. . will not allow him even the cold comfort of chastity. She is describing Charles I’s character: the historian has rushed into the chamber. who describes Charles I’s promiscuity (Macaulay.395 n. attacking a “lady” historian for arraigning Charles I on chastity.”72 This “bachelor” is not. or suffer him even to kiss his own wife with impunity.” giving it a new ground in philosophy rather than custom. A reviewer in the London Chronicle. he was unchaste in the sense of overly dependent upon his wife. she does not arbitrate either for Milton. calling himself “An Old Bachelor. History iv. Since Macaulay is a transferential historian. But she does not throw the lance.motion unraveling of its performative power.71 The leap is clear in 1790 because she is describing how to instruct young girls when she then offers a definition of chastity. “I think it was by no means the least that ladies should rise up in this generation.

male or female. if applied to women.40.73 This redefinition that makes kissing one’s own spouse unchaste would. But Macaulay does something different: she redefines chastity so that the virtue cannot be used oppressively on anyone. it would dub vicious. unchaste. Macaulay’s approbation .”74 Conclusion 47 . men attack by saying that “But ev'ry Woman is at heart a Rake” (Pope. Women counterattack by describing the double standard: Hays does. No wonder. then. . . implicitly in the act of redefinition also demanding its universal application. the major presumption stimulating Wollstonecraft’s second Vindication. 51) – that is a feminist historiographical act. evoked in the review by the image of ladies rising up. This does nothing less than make female independence a condition of female virtue. “Epistle II”). Wollstonecraft’s despair that Macaulay died shortly before she could read it: “When I first thought of writing [the Vindication of the Rights of Woman.] I anticipated Mrs. In fact. Notice that Macaulay deploys a transferential method in her feminism as well.for being so moralistic as to not even allow him “to kiss his own wife with impunity. any woman dependent on a man. describe Lord Darnley’s numerous infidelities as spurring Queen Mary into the arms of her ravisher (iii. In projection. . 192). is arguably the philosophical ground of Wollstonecraft’s visionary “revolution in female manners” (Vindication II 45. This premise. And yet behind that perfectionism lurks something even worse. as well as the implicit idea that one standard of virtue can be applied to both sexes.” Charles I has been judged by a moralist too stringent who would only accept bachelors as virtuous. call into question the virtue of the most devoted wives. in fact.

This chapter risks heroizing Macaulay instead of her critical historical procedure. Natalie Zemon Davis provides a welcome counterbalance. “Macaulay’s public reactions to [Hume] and to other historians with whom she disagreed,” Davis says, “were efforts at transcendence, that is, efforts to stand above private rivalry and speak only of history’s higher goals.” But Davis points out that the consequences of engaging in such rivalry, personal attack, would be worse for her as a woman than for any of her rivals (10). She did engage in a short interchange with Hume in letters publicly exchanged in the European Magazine. Hume ultimately defers to her, employing a “high strain of gallantry.” Macaulay jokingly reminds him that, in the feudal past, chivalry was one way of controlling women, while other methods, practiced at the same time, were “cropping of ears . . ., slitting of noses, and branding of foreheads.”75 Macaulay’s refusal both to project and to romance the fact brings into relief the possibility that physical violence subtends all forms of historical objectivity in which facts are not uttered from the perspective of an equitable world.


Chapter 2 Bad Marriages, Bad Novels: The “Philosophical Romance” Mr S[elby]. [. . .] Adsheart! we shall have a double marriage, as sure as two and two make four. [. . .] The Curtain Falls -- Jane Austen, Sir Charles Grandison or The Happy Man: A Comedy in Five Acts. [written 1799]76 Written just after Austen had completed her first draft of Pride and Prejudice (Southam 6), this sentence attests to what remains the same in the novel genre as it is transformed toward the end of the eighteenth century into a vehicle for psychological realism. Clearly, Austen had figured out by the time she co-authored this dramatic adaptation of Richardson’s novel that good marriages make good novels, just as they end comic plays.77 The satisfaction is not simply aesthetic. An ending via double marriage insures that two and two make four; it conserves or perhaps even creates cultural rationality, the kinds of reasoning that a particular social order recognizes as indisputable. John Stevenson reminds us that, in Northrop Frye’s generic theory, the distinctive feature of “comedy” in the broadest sense of the term is “that a concluding marriage offers its audience an image of restored social order . . .” (471), containing the anarchic sexual energies that had threatened its dissolution. Austen’s contemporaries, the “female Jacobin”78 authors Mary Hays and Mary Wollstonecraft, of course much lamented the social order. If marriage is a way of rejoining and reaffirming the world as currently constituted, it offers no solution to their demand for change. The character Mary ends Wollstonecraft’s novel of the same name, famously, by preparing and wishing to die, reassured that “she was hastening to that world where there is neither marrying, nor giving in marriage.”79 And Maria in

Wollstonecraft’s posthumously published The Wrongs of Woman connects marriage to social order and the question of its renewal when she says, famously, “Marriage had bastilled me for life” (154-155). The “revolution in female manners” for which Wollstonecraft calls, repeatedly, in her Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) will require overturning marriage as instituted at the end of the eighteenth century.80 Of course, the novel form is revolutionary in the sense that, from its inception, it participates in the bourgeois “revolution” by creating and disciplining the emerging middle class.81 But in the sense of “revolution” as overturning society to institute radical justice, a simultaneously classic realistic and radically revolutionary novel is a contradiction in terms. One could argue that, as a novelist, Godwin did not try to create a revolutionary, realistic novel, that he strove instead to bring about a revolution in the feelings of his readers by depicting the corruption of “things as they are.” Of course, utopianism is possible in the novel, but such imaginings alter the genre from the novel of classic realism to something else: the gothic, science fiction, allegory, fantasy literature. “The comedy of romance,” as Samuel Johnson calls the realistic novel,82 romantically opens up the possibility of discord between an individual and social mores, but then comedically, in Dante’s sense of the word, closes it down. Realism and revolution thus cannot co-exist generically – except to the extent that the classic realist novel’s ending fails. “It is just possible,” D. A. Miller says, “that Edward Ferrars will marry Lucy Steele, or that Captain Wentworth will go away again.” Those endings would leave Austen’s heroines unfulfilled within the given social structure. However, Miller continues, “[i]f these possibilities were realized, [. . .] they would have the status of sheer


and utter mistakes” (72). A radically revolutionary novel written at the beginning of the nineteenth century would by definition be an artistic blunder. The incompatibility of good art with progressive politics is a story we’ve heard repeatedly, beginning with attacks on socialist realism up to more recent attacks on aesthetic ideology. What is ideological about aesthetically pleasing totalities is the way that they seem to paper over social, political, and economic problems visible as textual contradictions, aporia, and gaps.83 And yet in this case what is ideological is aesthetic displeasure insofar as it forecloses upon further literary analysis of so-called Jacobin novels which seem to present only an unambiguous political platform. Wollstonecraft reports in a private letter a dinner conversation in which she and Mary Robinson debated over where, at what precise event, her novel Mary should have ended because the readers’ sympathies were no longer engaged.84 As a result of similar revolutionary sympathies, Hays also wrote novels contesting marriage, despite exhortations not to do so: William Godwin tells her that her novel Memoirs of Emma Courtney (1796) has “little story,”85 and that it would have been “more interesting had [her] heroine been beloved” (256). Required for readerly interest and sympathy as well as for plot (“story”) is romance, a plot form that is fundamentally inimical to the Enlightenment feminist writer’s desire to set her heroine on a quest for radical justice, according to Rachel Blau DuPlessis: [A] contradiction between love and quest in plots dealing with women as a narrated group, acutely visible in nineteenth-century fiction, has, in my view, one main mode of resolution: an ending in which one part of that


to believe that she cannot portray heroines on a quest for justice and still have romance too. “unsophisticated” to use another of their favorite terms which only later became a slur. It is to be critical – not in the Kantian sense of the word. “may there not be philosophical romance?”87 The word “philosophical” has.86 Hays refuses. Mary Shelley. usually quest or Bildung.” This chapter attempts to overturn prejudices instilled by taste.contradiction. to be philosophical is to steer a course through society’s sophistical reasoning. or personal experience. not despite but because of their endings.88 But by “philosophical. employed to justify its own corrupt practices. At this moment. is set aside or repressed. but rather by using Lockean/Hartleyian analytical method: one analyzes one’s associations. She demurs. whether by marriage or by death. To be philosophical is to be able to stand apart from one’s own historical moment and social mores in order to judge their validity. In her Vindication of the Rights of Men (1790). by refusing to grant any prejudged notion about the quality or value of things as they are. of course. Wollstonecraft insists that taste will change once radical equality is seen for what it is – once “domination” no longer “blasts all [our] 52 . determining whether they have become associated in one’s own mind by prejudice. and Amelia Opie are in fact “good” novels. arguing that novels written in the genre of philosophical romance89 by Wollstonecraft. a long and varied history. however. not prejudiced. and responds. culture. and then decides whether the association is “rational” or “just.” Wollstonecraft and Hays meant. Hays balked at Godwin’s injunction that she make her novel “more interesting” by making the plot conform to the rules of courtship and romance as instituted in her own imperfect world. Hays.

Wollstonecraft.90 clearly she and Hays write “philosophical romance” to an audience not yet in existence. while Opie mourns its impracticality. I show that Wollstonecraft. just society. had a problem insofar as rationalism can form the basis of individual but not social virtue. Shelley and Opie too write in the genre. emotionally binding – that rationalist. Their efforts should be especially interesting to scholars of British and American Romanticism insofar as they deliberately desynonymize “romantic” and 53 .prospects”. one that will find their work beautiful because situated differently in relation to the prospect of radical democracy. Godwin’s radical philosophy.e. Marriage is both a metaphor for and instance of social values. and Shelley romanced philosophy in order to render it sociable. In the process. and Shelley deploy the novel form as a way of interpreting and revising Godwin’s system. Beyond defending these novels by showing that their aesthetic failure comes out of adherence to an epistemological system underlying Godwin’s radical vision of a just society. showing us that the term “philosophical romance” is not at all equivalent to “Jacobin novels.” and moreover show us the value of considering these works to be interventions in form as well as politics. one that need not be considered a failure – not yet. these authors develop a new aesthetic. Hays. Hays. the novel with its marriage plot therefore provides a space for experimentation. Hays and Wollstonecraft turned to the novel (Wallace). for trying to render “interesting” – i. the one that Hays and Wollstonecraft attempted to embody in novels. Looking for a way to import feeling into rationalist calculations.. equalizing virtue that according to Godwin would rule a radically egalitarian. Though burdened with considerably more complicated political views.

. or by regulation which is one of the classes of force. (3. how can all these individuals thinking for themselves ever cohere for Godwin into a 54 . [. is of the utmost importance to the welfare and improvement of mind.“individual. . to endeavour to reduce men to intellectual uniformity.”92 Based on reason. by brute force.] The proper method for hastening the decay of error. From this perspective.] is nothing more than a scheme for enforcing by brute violence the sense of one man or set of men upon another” (3. a freedom from all constraint except that of reason and argument presented to the understanding. . is not.] Beware of reducing men to the state of machines. . Rational Philosophy In the 1793 edition of An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. . “all government. nine years earlier. [. . “the motto of the Enlightenment”:93 Natural independence.308). Govern them through no medium but that of inclination and conviction. but on the contrary by teaching every man to think for himself. civic action is voluntary.448-450) But if it is true for Godwin that “government [.110).” from absolute monarchy ruled to a Republic regulated by laws – “corresponds in a certain degree to what the Greeks denominated a tyranny” (3.”91 I argue below that the philosophical romance queers romanticism. William Godwin argues that human beings can achieve consensus about what should be done in any given situation (“justice”) through the proper use of reason if the mind has not been imbued with “false principles engendered by an imperfect system of society. He then articulates the antiauthoritarian and anarchical basis of what Kant had called. The Problem of Radical. rendering it communal.

[.] in persons [i. as a rational creature.450). of government and rule by law. and ought to differ” (3. for Godwin.” “From these principles it appears that every thing that is usually understood by the term cooperation is in some degree an evil” (3. so as to create in us love. admiration. . .131): that is.] On the principles of this mechanic philosophy. . But that 55 . . each individual will come to “the truth” (3. or attachment.104). one realizes that promoting mutual benefit is the best way of securing one’s own happiness. what will hold us together as a group? I have just summarized part of the chapter of Political Justice dealing with the problem as to how “the endless variety of mind” affects the project of regulating society rationally rather than by government. .society? As he admits in the sentence following the motto “think for yourself. . would take the place of any usurping and illegitimate external force – that is. . which is the offspring of cold hearts and muddy understandings. in an ideal society. consensus is possible because since there is a “single and uniform” truth (3. in thinking for him or herself.] by the concern which each individual may find in them from his own private speculations [. The force of conviction is.] laws are to be supported only [. an internal force. It in part attempts to answer Edmund Burke’s contention that “this new conquering empire of light and reason”94 won’t hold together: On the scheme of this barbarous philosophy. .20). “[V]ice” is nothing more than “error” (3. First.450): in those cases. .e. Second. How will a rational society work in practice? In Godwin’s scheme. our institutions can never be embodied [. authorities]. But Godwin recognizes that “there are subjects about which we shall continually differ.. that. reason insures social existence in two ways. veneration.

.311). to enquire into the due medium between individuality and [acting in] concert.95 for Godwin. . Without society. after Godwin had met. has been the mysterious and complicated nature of the social system” (3. after the birth of their daughter Mary and after Wollstonecraft’s death – adds this idea to the question of social cement in a rational society: It is a curious subject. and married Mary Wollstonecraft.] [H]uman beings are formed for society. One paragraph of that appendix completely new to the 1798 edition – and written.” though later.” he calls this96). Whereas for conservative ideology. “The true reason why the mass of mankind has so often been made the dupe of knaves. imagining a lawless political realm in which each individual operates rationally and responds to another individual’s rational thought (“justice. in the 1798 edition. fallen in love with. the law that operates in the political realm might serve as a metaphor for laws that act in the sphere of the domestic. this chapter defending rational rule contains in it Godwin’s discussion of “cohabitation” and “marriage. Hence the easy movement in this chapter from a discussion of governmental power to a discussion of when to have dinner. the political and the domestic cannot be in any real sense separate.309) played out in every-day arrangements. we shall probably be deprived of the most 56 . [.sort of reason which banishes the affections is incapable of filling their place. (171-172) Burke does not see how “bare” or “naked” reasoning can commit people to honorable social interaction. it became an Appendix. Because “cooperation” with others names for Godwin all public and private action in his “empire of reason” (3. therefore.

provides the perfect laboratory for trying the experiment of whether there can be such a thing as rational society held together through a sense of connectedness to them.e. possessing the genuine marks of a man can stand alone. . “stunn’d.” Why? Even if [the] ceremony 57 . generically tied to marriage. . Stanley Cavell argues that the poem offers prayer as a necessary substitute for marriage as a way of rendering humans social: [Coleridge’s] Mariner teaches [his moral] by buttonholing WeddingGuests.335) Hays and Wollstonecraft take up this “curious subject. nor merely on a continuum with. Our opinions. In society. This is by no means the mere operation of arguments and persuasives [.. and leaving them stunned. through love. so that they too “[turn away] from the bridegroom’s door. preferably next of kin.” Marriage and Politics Coleridge ends his “Rime of the Ancyent Marinere” of 1798 by telling the “Wedding-guest” whom he has detained to tell his tale that “sweeter than the Marriagefeast. . . there is a great deal at stake in the success of “philosophical romance. but in fact constitutive of the political scene.97 And of course the novel.”98 The Wedding-guest leaves.” assuming with Godwin that personal relationships are not merely a metaphor for. . Needless to say. no man. / ‘Tis sweeter far [. Relying upon these passages.] / To walk together to the Kirk / And altogether pray.” having been successfully by the Marinere “Turn’d [away] from the bridegroom’s door” (lines 654-5). i.] (4.eminent enjoyments of which our nature is susceptible. our tempers and our habits are modified by those of each other.

that we must choose between them. out of fear of the spontaneous creation of social bodies that might be taken by witnesses to have political efficacy. The question as to how witnesses might determine the authority of any performative act – its binding sacrality – is an especially pressing one during the 1790s. When exactly the Third Estate actually became the National Assembly in France. or not yet be. the fear is that one body could or would suddenly become the state because witnessed as such. Lord 58 . the married couple. .” The convening of assemblies is outlawed in 1795 by the Two Acts. just as “clandestine marriage” – the marrying of two people without parental consent and published church bans – is declared ineffective in creating a legal body. are paramount.[of all praying together] is “sweeter than the marriage-feast. . legitimate enforcers of legal authority.” it does not yet follow that they are incompatible. Many such extralegal bodies sprung up in England and Scotland. also called the Gagging Acts. has to do with the problem of witness. by Lord Hardwicke’s Act. Questions as to the legality of performances made in front of social bodies that may not be. prompting the Two Acts: as can be seen in the treason trials over what was said at these conventions. Why is the marriage deserted [. of when French citizens began to react to Third-Estate edicts as laws.]? Cavell ends his reading with a question that echoes Hamlet: “[S]hall there be no more marriages?”99 Cavell’s reading of Coleridge’s “Rime” shows that it is concerned with the problem of witnessing: the Marinere prevents the Wedding-guest from witnessing a marriage. anxieties run high about the power of performatives such as “we declare” or “I will. when exactly its edicts began to have the force of “state” authority. At such a political moment.

meaningless. both at the macro level of politics and at the micro level of marriage. preceded nuptials or a public marriage ceremony. Expecting people to violate the prohibition. This law insisted that marriages were not only illegal without the proper witnesses of parish and parents (they had always been that). but also – and this is new – they are invalid (Emsley 481). the [ecclesiastical] courts tended to treat all secret betrothals followed by actual connubial life as binding marriages. but neither Luther nor the other Protestant leaders insisted upon them as necessary to a binding marriage. as the novels examined here show. God’s forgiveness. potentially witnessed by no one. The government enacts laws to prohibit private enactment of public meaning. The problem is. the betrothal or engagement that could be public or secret. from the Priest to inner faith.Hardwicke’s Act remained in effect from 1753-1835/6. from worldly convention witnessed by authority to interior mental act. Luther transfers the agent which makes possible the effect of eating the bread. the law declares secret acts to be null and void.101 Spousals. but [a]s a rule.100 The consequences of this anti-authoritarian theology were rendered practical in marriage: Ecclesiastical rites were prescribed by the authority of the state [in Germany] as the best means of securing publicity [for marriage]. secret acts are at this historical moment seen to be utterly possible. Until far down 59 . Marriage and Meaning Over the course of a lifetime of work on how God becomes present in the bread and wine during holy communion.

it is a short step to imagining marriages made through a wordless mental act of internal consent on the part of both parties. along the lines of Luther’s communion.]102 Though perhaps not advocating private ceremonies. Once verbal consent between two people who are alone is accepted as the necessary and sufficient conditions for performing an act of marriage. . In 1685. since it is the very Consent of Mind only which maketh Matrimony. .into the eighteenth century the engaged lovers before the nuptials were held to be legally husband and wife. the English legal thinker Henry Swinburne describes marriage as quite possibly even a silent act of consent when discussing the grammatical difference between promises to marry in the future and actual performances of the act: [T]he Vulgar sort [sometimes] intend to tye such a Knot as can never be loosed. Swinburne in effect indicates that it is possible to marry through an inward aligning of hearts: it is possible to marry someone without uttering a word. which mean uprightly [. not the outward sound of their Lips.] And therefore. but the inward Harmony or Agreement of their Hearts. yet such is their unskilfulness and ignorance herein. (Howard 1. . but the drift of their Determination. that they cannot frame their words to their minds [. we are to regard not their Words.374) Two people would only need to consent to marry each other for a marriage to have effectively taken place. . but their Intents. not the formality of the Phrase. . 60 . which cannot speak more cunningly. and make the [marriage] Contract so sure as it may never be dissolved. .

The pain and pleasure of these thoughts mingled strangely – he had no words to express 61 . rendering them. she then in a letter to him “call[s] him by the sacred name of ‘husband’” (190). Mary Shelley’s Lodore. how eloquently?” (100). . Venables. raised her to be virtuous in the isolated wilds of Illinois. adds to his own infidelities by attempting to barter Maria’s sexual favors for a loan. Maria meets and befriends an at first cruel keeper named Jemima. Villiers. written 40 years later is still arguably part of this genre. they marry each other through gestures: “They were silent – yet discoursed. irrevocable (188). Mr. who fails in subscribing too entirely to social judgments of his own worth. the title character Lord Lodore. .Mary Wollstonecraft’s posthumously published and unfinished novel The Wrongs of Woman. Lodore provides a dramatic instance of the wordless ceremony: Villiers took [Ethel’s] hand and held it in his [. a dandy whose dissipating habits were cured by living in America. or Maria describes how Maria’s husband. he then incarcerates her in a madhouse for the sake of obtaining control over an inheritance left to their daughter under her guardianship. . Lodore had taken her to America when she was only an infant.] He felt that he was loved. as Darnford says. Ethel falls in love with a deserving man. and then died fighting in a duel when they were both on their way to return to England. In The Wrongs of Woman. and that he was about to part from her for ever. He is imprisoned in the madhouse against his will upon returning to Europe by someone who wished to defraud him of an inheritance. Maria and Darnford fall in love while imprisoned. Ethel is the daughter of an impetuous Byronic hero. and then Henry Darnford. While imprisoned. It is not till much later that they consummate their spousals. Early in the novel.

In Hays’s The Victim of Prejudice. Villiers does not really marry Ethel until he can. (238) Villiers thinks he must leave Ethel forever because too poor to marry her – worse. . even after and despite their public wedding ceremony. Ethel prefers (as she later actually demonstrates) to live in debtors’ prison with him than without him. Mr. as it were. an orphan named Mary is virtually adopted by one Mr. which is why she is so stunned and betrayed by his initial decision to leave her: she takes this private ceremony to mean that he is coming back. see riches and social station as ancillary to a marriage rather than constitutive: his education as to the unreality of social appearances causes a change in his soul that renders his outlook on the value of riches the same as Ethel’s (338). Even much later in the novel. [. married their souls one to the other. and it is only this change that allows him to truly consent to his marriage (338-339).] [O]ne kindred emotion of perfect affection had. as she does. the couple achieve marriage: “the intimate union of their thoughts” allows them to “dr[i]nk life from one another’s gaze” (339). Villiers’s problem is his inability to prevent his life and his words from betraying each other. an 62 .” not in reality. he takes it to mean that she accepts his inability to marry her but knows that he is married to her in soul. . he felt that it would be easier to die than to give her up. Though the “kindred emotion” described in the above passage causes marriage for Villiers only metaphorically (“as it were”). Long after their formal marriage ceremony and its consummation. Raymond adopts and raises Mary because he feels partly responsible for – in his own self-distrusting timidity – having abandoned her to her seducer and father of Mary. in debt. “as it were.them. it does so literally for Ethel. Raymond who had loved but failed to act on his love for her mother.

]” (85) 63 . of respect for the judgement of my guardian. the moment of realization happens wordlessly. it is too late. Raymond tries to separate them. in true Godwinian form refusing to take an oath made unnecessary by the firmness of her heart:103 “If your knowledge of my heart. Mr. Raymond’s house. Raymond realizes this. . in order to raise them as well. Yet by the time Mr.” [she says to William. grow up living as brother and sister in Mr. . I sunk into a chair. . and remained silent.] (52) Mary refuses to have a minister preside over their “nuptial-ceremony” (84). the eldest of the boys. Mary and William. When Mr. I felt the blood alternately forsake and rush back to my heart. they realize that they are indeed wedded together. confused notions of danger and impropriety. Again. At a crucial moment. which a faint sickness overspread. .illegitimate child. Mary responds physically to the injunction of her beloved guardian not to marry William as it is contradicted by her knowledge that she is in fact already bound to him in her soul: my heart was rent by contending passions. Mr. in this case.] “afford you not a security for my faith. weak indeed were the sanction of oaths. Raymond takes in two boys. struggled with my native sincerity: I trembled.” said William [. Raymond realizes that they have become too attached – William’s father would never let him marry an illegitimate child. . simply in growing up together. “I understand you. and unworthy the sacred flame that animates us [. . Mary and William have married each other insensibly. sons of a gentleman.

As Wollstonecraft’s Maria realizes.” Social forms have become so corrupt that social ceremonies or rituals mean the opposite of what they pretend. its existence.” Wollstonecraft says in Maria. Eliza Fenwick’s Secresy makes plain that marrying legally. . oaths hypocrisy. . Because it is her mother’s dying wish. Godwin describes living under a government: “I 64 . “Had she remained with her husband.] (15) It is the corruption of social institutions that forces the uttering of empty vows in marriage as well as civic engagement. marriage in fact licensing infidelity. practicing insincerity.105 “Marriage.104 And here we get back to why the wedding guests cannot adequately witness the wedding in Coleridge’s “Rime. being either unnecessary to articulate or even potentially falsified in the articulation. she would still have been visited and respected” (192). these novels seem to insist. publicly. and neglecting her child to manage an intrigue. actually falsifies one’s vows to monogamy insofar as the social form of marriage bespeaks its incipient violation. “lead[s] to immorality” (193). and afterwards the marriage ceremony was performed. and pronounced the awful vow without thinking of it. And the young Mary Wollstonecraft describes the insidious emptiness of public ritual in her earliest novel Mary. and then ran to support her mother who expired the same night in her arms. Her husband set off for the continent the same day [.The “sacred flame” is the intent behind any words. . the heroine Mary marries one “Charles” in order settle a suit of contested inheritance: The clergyman came in to read the service for the sick. as at present constituted. Mary stood like a statue of Despair.

I will provide for myself and child. But more is rotten in Denmark than the corruption of the social ceremony’s meaning.97). but what witness will be able to tell the difference? The wedding guests are detained by the Marinere: they cannot uphold the meaning of the marriage performed at a public marriage ceremony because what is performed there is undecidably marriage or its failure.” I pulled off my ring. “I call on you.” she utters. In Wollstonecraft’s later novel. I now abjure it. I added. S----. Yet both agreement and submission despite disagreement will appear the same to “outside” observers. never to enter it more. though she did so after she publicly divorced her husband for offering her sexual services for money. to witness.” and I lifted my hands and eyes to heaven. Sir. merely because I have no remedy” (3. I leave him as free as I am determined to be myself – he shall be answerable for no debts of mine. as far as it appears to me to coincide with [the] principles [of justice and truth].am bound to co-operate with government. turning to Mr. even refusing to go back to her husband in exchange for release from the madhouse. Godwin’s predicament also obtains for participants in public marriage: vows can be said and meant or said and not meant. “that. But she is not allowed by society to keep her freedom or her child. and put it on the table. “We part for ever. “and that I mean immediately to quit his house. S----: he is the man who attempted to 65 . The problem is Mr. as solemnly as I took his name.” (162) Maria adheres to her vow of divorce to the bitter end. But I submit to government when I think it erroneous. a performative that has for her the efficacy of divorce: Then. Maria is shunned by society for having privately married her lover.

than she could for herself.107 The realistic or good novel similarly attacks aristocratic “honor” for its corruption. Cavell takes Coleridge to be saying. but then adds a bourgeois twist to the plot: she must be virtuous as well. who were qualified by their experience to judge better for her. Both Clarissa108 and Sense and Sensibility test out the validity of the judge’s proposition. (199) This unjust judge articulates the aristocratic code of honor. participating as it does in bourgeois revolution. Mr. Richardson finds greater corruption in things as they are than does Austen. In Wollstonecraft’s The Wrongs of Woman. duty to parents in choice of a marriage partner. the judge responds: What virtuous woman [ever] thought of her feelings? – It was her duty to love and obey the man chosen for her by her parents and relations. until people’s intentions stand behind the meaning of their public pronouncements. Until Society is no longer as vicious as S----. This witness is not himself virtuous enough to help her uphold her meaning. the latter demonstrating through Marianne’s tragedy the inadvisability of working outside kinship networks – an affirmation of things as they are that is later more directly modified by Persuasion. marriages.106 The judge in the civil court in which Maria defends Darnforth becomes the voice of injustice whose edict almost ends the novel. showing how 66 . In response to Maria’s claim that she never committed adultery in her feelings. Venables’s last ploy to get money out of his wife is to sue Darnforth for seduction and adultery. Venables blatant infidelities in the process. cannot take place.purchase her sexual favors from her husband. reminding her of Mr.

112 Fairly certain that the French Revolution was a convulsion staged not for the sake of instituting radical democracy but rather for bringing into being the middle class. and revealing the corruption and meaninglessness of aristocratic forms: “If you yourself think your Word insufficient.111 How do the novels of philosophical romance differ from “THE novel”? Virtue Typically.114 But is the virtue of the heroine of philosophical romance simply bourgeois? Hays’s later novel.”113 As Lisa Moore puts it. though it requires her death to do so. out of a concern for their own profit. 1280. “[t]he rational heroines of Austen and Edgeworth were much closer to Wollstonecraft’s ideal [of virtue] than their political investments would seem to indicate” (152). “virtue. critics of Jacobin literature such as Gary Kelly have seen the Jacobin novel as an artistic “variant” of the artifacts produced for and by “the professional middle-class cultural revolution. 1283. what reliance can I have on your Oath!”109 Like hypocritical words. 1433).much “experienced” parents and relations might operate selfishly. insuring that the judge’s ruling in The Wrongs of Woman could actually dispense justice (social order preserved) and simultaneously creating an ideological space of virtue that will be inhabited by the middle class (overturning aristocratic hegemony).” like the novel itself. the oath too often signifies the withdrawal of the very consent it is meant to mark (73.110 Clarissa ultimately succeeds in reforming her parents and Lovelace. is seen as a fundamentally “bourgeois” ideal. The Victim of Prejudice (1799) contains a moment when a Lord asks a woman to be his mistress: 67 . “Wollstonecraft’s ideas exemplified rather than resisted the new bourgeois consensus about the virtuous self”. 376.

then Pelham.116 and novels of taste don’t marry the fallen woman either. . to seduce my judgement: [. . between the dictates of nature and virtue and the factitious relations of society. the first and only object of its tenderest sympathy [. Mary! Drive me not to despair! – Distinguish. Emma continuously veers away from the traditional romantic quest of trying to win Augustus in marriage. . infinitely more dear and sacred. he will be able to convince his father that her virtue outshines her lineage and legally marry her.]115 “What man of taste marries a woman after an affair with her?” is a line uttered by a worldly wise woman at the end of another philosophical romance. . despite the fact that his wife subsequently dies and he is free to marry her legally to repair the fault. . will rape her. she will waste away Clarissa-like and die. and. . . How would someone who knows good novels from bad construct the novel’s denouement from here? If Mary means by “virtue” what Pamela means. Eliza Fenwick’s Secresy (1795). . affection was. swept away by uncontainable desire.]” [Mary:] “Think not by this sophistry. mutual convenience was the bond of union.] [By the latter]. Victim of Prejudice ends neither way. because Mary has refused his offer to be his mistress. What kind of virtue is this? Queer Families In Hays’s Memoirs of Emma Courtney. Or if the main character’s virtue is Clarissa’s. . in my nuptials [with another woman]. I pray you. By the former. on neither side.[William Pelham:] “Hear me. ostensibly its central 68 . [. my soul is bound to you. despite her love for him. then Pelham’s wife of convenience will die suddenly and. either felt or pretended.] it is virtue only that I love better than William Pelham [. .

the victim Rachel. It is quite clear that Emma has fallen in love with Augustus via her love for his mother (91). This scene is enacted with Augustus’s mother whom Emma calls her “more than mother” (101. slipping in and out of consciousness: they are unable to engage together in the mental act of marriage. there is another such marriage between Maria and Jemima: Maria promises Jemima that she will teach her daughter “to consider you as her second mother. Yes. he has fallen from his horse and lays dying. Coming to find her. after his wife’s death and the end of his clandestine marriage. This is marriage to a child. Jemima. What Emma consents to in this disjointed conversation is not marriage but adoption of Augustus’s son: “I comprehend you – say no more – he is mine” (205). When Augustus finally is able to declare his love for Emma. When he regains consciousness. Like the clandestine marriage between Emma and Mrs. There is also a marriage scene in the novel resembling the marriage scenes described above: “a strong sympathy united us. and herself as the prop of your age. Hartley. In this romance Emma falls for a family. it is only long enough to communicate through broken words. and we became almost inseparable” (91).plot. he is in a delirium. and Augustus’s son whom she loves with “more than a mother’s fondness” (219). and read my very soul. and definitely maternal: it is the performance of a promise to be his devoted mother. 183) which undecidably suggests something sexual and something familial. look at me – observe me closely. perhaps desexualized (although sometimes Emma sounds like the boy’s lover). Emma sets up a household comprised of herself. her daughter. That the goal of this romance is to establish a queer family is amply demonstrated by its ending: after the suicide of her husband Montague out of remorse for the abortion he induced in his mistress (Emma’s maid) Rachel. you merit a better 69 .

discovered to be alive. When Jemima calls upon Maria to adhere to her promise to make her a “second mother” to Maria’s child. Jemima. the charity comes from the servants rather than the masters. as her story shows. “on you it depends to reconcile me with the human race” (189). Right before it. The novel will end. First. Wollstonecraft’s notes suggest. Raymond’s ex-servant. with Darnford’s desertion and Maria. vicious in feeling. . But that does not obviate the paternalism here: charity flows upward when recognition – what Cavell calls “acknowledgement” of the other – flows downward.fate [. prostitute. after a thwarted suicide attempt. . though Mary lives with her “second father. has been duped by everyone. she says. “more than” parental or filial. then later with a family that she saved from destitution. Maria has become married to Darnford by similarly looking into his eyes. or immoral indigent – in short. despite her commitment to Darnford and the presumed death of the child. This glue is based upon the capacity of its primary characters to witness each other’s virtue or true intent in a society that mislabels them adultress. living with Jemima and her daughter. This treachery mis-educates her. I would call the household that ends Hays’s Victim of Prejudice (although all the members of it die) a queer family as well.]” (121). even the libertine “friends of freedom” who educated her (114). which is 70 . Jemima later asks Maria to enact “the performance of her promise” (189) and flee the insane asylum with her – which Maria does. and undecidably erotic or platonic. for whose sake she had offered Jemima her promise in the first place.” the deceased Mr. What’s queer about these endings is that they wed together people by transgressing class and gender lines with a social glue that is paternalistic except for two things. The promise to Jemima is made in the mode of marriage. letting him read her intentions in them (100) as she insists that Jemima do.

And so this brings us to the second difference between the love found in philosophical romance and the older.117 While “helplessness” suggests that Cavell’s formula is a recipe for political quietism. insincerity injures the capacity to think (3. “implication” does not. Cavell’s idea is that the pain of watching someone whom one 71 . someone must mean what they say to her. At stake in speaking sincerely is creating an audience of virtuous witnesses. Here “virtue” names the force insuring social bonds that are not oppressive: these bonds are woman-to-woman. all the while recognizing our own implication in his or her suffering. Acknowledgment In “The Avoidance of Love. till justice be the spectacle perpetually presented to their view. For Godwin. continuously inhabiting them with intention.254). feudal system of paternalistic benevolence: this glue is not paternalistic insofar as all those who are capable of performing acts of acknowledgement that involve continuously ratifying their promises. and hence a society of virtuous people. though what most often happens is that meaning fails. Maria inhabits her promise to make Jemima her child’s second mother completely by the novel’s end: the girl and two women live as a queer family happily ever after. as if watching a tragedy.” Stanley Cavell defines “acknowledgment” as recognition of our helplessness before the suffering of another. For Jemima to reform into a virtuous person. seeing oaths uninhabited by intentions teaches her to tell lies and to mistrust any pretense at virtue. are say. and injustice wondered at as a prodigy” (3.135): “Human beings will never be so virtuous as they might easily be made. even those who die leave behind a primarily female family devoted to each other’s future happiness. Though sometimes the heroines die in the end.

insofar as to avoid one’s own implication in another’s pain.” “rapture”) suggests a marriage proposal.” and condemned Rachel. Though of course “take her into my family” means to rehire her. “these are the wages of sin” is an act of hate: according to Cavell. the language here (“proposed. Had she said. Emma recognizes her personal guiltlessness on the one hand: she did not commit adultery with Harley. was at the age of 18 seduced and impregnated by Emma’s husband. Rachel.loves suffer becomes excruciating insofar as the spectator knows him or herself to be the cause. then commits suicide. filling the words “these are the consequences of a confused system of morals” with effective intentionality. she would be upholding that confused system of morals. his jealous reaction to her “fatal attachment” to Augustus Harley (211). But Emma backs up her recognition of Rachel’s innocence. in any case insisting that Emma’s reaction to the woman’s victimage by her husband is an act of love. Of Montague’s suicide murder. to which she acceded with rapture” (218). Emma’s husband murders her infant after failing to abort it. Memoirs of Emma Courtney 220) at work in these novels. One avoids love. according to Cavell. Conversely. and she told Montague of her undying love for him before they were married. putting Rachel in the position that the heroine Mary finds herself in Victim of Prejudice. such a refusal of acknowledgment is a way of taking 72 . then. “these are the wages of sin. This formula explains the Enlightened understanding of the “social affections” (Hays. “These are the consequences of a confused system of morals” (217) that would brand the servant Rachel a whore and unemployable were she to publicly bear and care for an illegitimate child. she says. One member of Emma Courtney’s queer family. by participating in and thereby creating a society that does not have such a confused system: “I proposed to the poor girl to take her again into my family.

.” an amalgam of thought and emotion. this love seems cold-blooded. . convention. as if by rote. or ceremony. and so Emma acknowledges Rachel only out of a sense of duty? Female versus Male Sentiment In Godwin’s Memoirs of Mary Wollstonecraft. it is unlikely that one could plan a ceremony and then.” feel. Though wanting the public ceremony so as “not to be confounded with women who act from very different motives. rational. or so contrary to the genuine march of sentiment. Sentiment is of course not mere emotion. Because the intentions must be there for both parties. deriving from “sententiousness.]”119 This declaration seems so quintessentially romantic: the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings will brook no form. the sentence really insists that a sacred bond is forged when “the genuine march of sentiment” meets “the genuine march of sentiment.revenge on the other for his or her suffering. No matter how humanitarian. Godwin’s phrase “genuine march of sentiment” emphasizes that genuine feeling is militaristic in some way. . for the demand to recognize one’s own implication. think. he justifies their initial refusal to marry:118 “certainly nothing can be so ridiculous upon the face of it. at the moment of publicly saying “I will. But while it may seem that Godwin romantically focuses on the inability for lovers to wait to consummate their love. since current cultural forms require its absence.” whether with or without words. as to require the overflowing of soul to wait upon a ceremony [. revolutionary. but.120 Maria and Darnforth are privately married before they can publicly announce their marriage. detached: what if Emma and Rachel don’t really get along in personality – what if they don’t really love each other.” Maria’s “conduct would be just the same 73 . and intend together.

we discover that Darnforth’s unspoken oath was not as “firm” (194) as Maria’s: Wollstonecraft’s notes to the as yet unwritten Volume III. or perhaps adding to it. Maria vomits up her poison and is saved. Villiers in Lodore.” the one to live and die by her word is Mary.Mr. perhaps contradicting the first outlined ending. ch. Wollstonecraft explains gender differences in performative power: A fondness for the [female] sex often gives an appearance of humanity to the behaviour of men. Venables and Mr. when they are only pursuing their own gratification. In her notes to the unfinished novel. one can see that the crime is really impersonal. structural. granted too much power in an unequal 74 .without the [public] ceremony as with it” (194). Jemima rushes in upon Maria just after she has taken an overdoes of laudanum bringing with her Maria’s daughter whose death had been faked to prevent her mother from seeking her. whereas men. who have small pretensions to the reality. and William in Hays’s Victim of Prejudice – it is only the women who can keep their word. S---. and they seem to love others. Darnforth in Wrongs. Whether they be the worst of men -. IV. “Her lover unfaithful – Pregnancy – Miscarriage – Suicide” (202). (192) This seems like a kind of sexist attack on Wollstonecraft’s Wollstonecraft’s Wrongs of Woman – or the best. Women keep their promises because the only power they have is the personal power over their own virtue. and yet. Even in the latter novel which uniquely contains some “more than fathers. In another ending to the novel. if one understands what’s going on in this genre of novels.

Victim of Prejudice 127). as scarcely to regard her own sensations. Jemima. Villiers. they must sustain their own meaningfulness with ardor. As the case histories of Lodore. In this case.” Mary says (Hays. As the case histories of all these Marys. and the soul of genius. and Ethel show. “[I]t is virtue only that I love better than William Pelham. their loves must be checked and rechecked. Thus. Women don’t love the Rachels and the Darnfords.society. love other kinds of power. [the woman is] in society so occupied with the feelings of others. Maria. this critiquing of one’s own feelings to make sure that one’s own humanity is present to others. than to guard against deception” in expressing her love to Darnford (188).” Because women are not given the power to effect what they mean. and Harley tell us. they exercise freedom. It is really this extra layer of consciousness. but love their own power to create a permanent bond with them through virtue. the intention of which is insecure. but love of their own virtue or performative power. the Augustuses and the Williams. It is simply not love of a particular person. but they still feel love. Darnford. that allows women to partake of the sensibility which is the auxiliary of virtue. women are either subjected to “the tyranny of passions” – the feelings that arise from being victim to an unjust social system – or insist upon their capacity to act rightly independently of that system. in being “more anxious not to deceive. as people. Like the word in a private language. Maria enacts “true sensibility. the strength of meaningfulness that stands outside any of society’s rituals. (176) 75 . to really mean what they mean. the genuine march of sentiment. men are seduced away from the love of the power that is virtue into love of other kinds of power.

or I am nonexistent. as Mary Wollstonecraft had once done. and her investment in that personal virtue or strength just is the love. Is it cold to love a principle rather than a person? Well maybe. Maria divorces her husband and marries Darnford by her own performative act. and this is why the novel requires two endings. with a sexual innuendo. to enforce the meaning of the word “husband” upon a man who has deserted her for another. She on the other hand in insisting that she never violated any of her own vows. But maybe it is colder to love a person for gratification than to love a principle defining subjective power for both oneself and the loved one: these heroines don’t simply uphold their own meanings but mutual meanings. stemming the passionate desire to take vengeance on others for their sufferings because occupied with acknowledging the feelings that arise out of unjust social circumstances and meeting those feelings with justice. When the judge exclaims to Maria. as I said and meant. “pleads her feelings. their own performative power to mean what they say. But. only suicide allows her to preserve the power of her own utterance: I am his wife. feelings mean the sentiment marshaled to shore up a meaning not granted by society.Concerned with their own virtue. suicide violates her marriage contract with Jemima 76 . “what woman of virtue ever thought of her own feelings?” he is using “feelings” to mean sensations. and she loves her own power to do that. questioning their own reactions. but it is a divorce he calls for by prostituting her: she enacts their mutual and deeply felt intentions.” in the judges phrase: there. the heroines of philosophical romance stand beside themselves in a sane sense. Making her performance of the act of marrying the treacherous Darnford into an efficacious act means allotting to herself historical and subjective performative power. a love that substitutes for object love. Maria can only choose suicide.

Glenmurray is treated less cynically. even though Adeline has been misguided by Godwin’s system. Amelia Opie’s Adeline Mowbray has been seen as an anti-Jacobin novel. young paramour. she reveals herself underneath it all to be truly conventional. She must both die and live to be a powerful historical agent and thereby not subject to the “tyranny of the passions” that comes from victimhood (Hays.and her maternal contract with her daughter. when it comes to her daughter’s and her own romances. For Opie. Memoirs of Emma Courtney 221). In protesting against this rake’s definition of “honour”—in the 77 . but he too abandons his principles when their social consequences become completely clear to him. Anti-anti-Jacobin: Adeline Mowbray Within the literary history of the Jacobin novel. and. nor prompts us to do so. she never withdraws sympathy from her heroine. and has been taught by her similarly “philosophical” mother to think freely. who happened also to be in the room when she spoke. directly attacking Godwin and his ideals about marriage in the ill-fated and destructive character of Glenmurray who quite literally wrecks Adeline’s life by living with her without marrying her. Early in the novel. Adeline’s speech reiterating Glenmurray’s unorthodox views of marriage precipitates unwanted advances from her widowed mother’s gold-digging new. wishing to communicate her views to Glenmurray who. Adeline utters a speech that expresses and affirms Godwin’s ideas about marriage.121 But Miriam Wallace has rightly argued that it is reductive to see Opie’s novel as simply anti-Jacobin. though. in the novel’s world. At Bath. Adeline’s mother puts on radical philosophy for the sake of being fashionable in a kind of avant-garde sense. had written and published about them.122 For one thing. Adeline has met this radical philosopher at Bath.

Norberry. if intemperate. 78 . two women who have hastened Adeline’s ruin -. Adeline proclaims that it is not marriage but “the individuality of an attachment that constitutes its chastity. a woman who had an illegitimate child. we have in this novel as well two scenes showing the main characters making sometimes secret (318) and sometimes private vows (330) that both Glenmurray and Adeline Mowbray hold sacred and binding throughout the novel: Adeline is tempted to lie about her past (504-505). ends with a community of women all of whom are committed to either living together or supporting each other financially:125 Adeline’s mother.”123 echoing a statement made by Emma in Hays’s novel published eight years earlier: I loved you. Pemberton the Quaker. not only rationally and tenderly – but passionately – it became a pervading and a devouring fire! And yet. too. and her one-time servant Mary Warner. I do not blush – my affection was modest. for it was individual – it annihilated in my eyes every other man in the creation. but never does. (159)124 Adeline comes to regret that she placed her faith in her own understanding of chastity rather than in traditional marriage or “a continuance in those paths of virtue and decorum which the wisdom of ages has pointed out to the steps of every one” (506). Adeline’s legitimate daughter. Mrs. Dr. And yet. and Editha. And this novel.her greedy and lying cousin Miss Woodville. Only one male character remains at the end within this circle of women. who several times identifies himself as “an old woman” (621).phrase “man of honour”—as promiscuity. Savanna – Adeline’s devoted “mulatto” servant who often works for her without food and pay.

Michael Warner implicates the novel genre as inspiring the push among some gay and lesbian groups for state-sanctioned same-sex marriage (100). As she is dying. Mowbray wth passionate fondness:— “never. she leaves a strong community of worshippers dedicated to following her unselfish principles in dealings with each other – a utopian and completely female community. Conclusion In The Trouble with Normal . Like Emma. Savanna lover her so dear?” exclaims her mulatto servant (561). That Adeline Mowbray articulates ideas opposed to Emma Courtney does not disqualify it from the genre of philosophical romance. I would suggest. . Adeline asks her mother if she “loves [her] still”: “Love you still!” replied Mrs. This novel. the novel is really about the star-crossed but pure and passionate love between mother and daughter. it threatens to seem aesthetically inferior because its ending is so queer. never were you so dear to me as now!” Adeline does die in the end.As the subtitle suggests.126 Opposing that desire. . Warner says that advocating same-sex marriage by adopting (novelistic) discourses of chastity and virtue requires “a massive repudiation of queer culture’s best insights on intimate relations . but she does so grasping her mother’s hand in passionate joy and with “her head on Savanna’s bosom” (625).” (91): 79 . is classifiable as philosophical romance as well. if she be one selfish beast like her husband. She has adored these women and has been adored by them precisely because of her difference from all the men in the novel: “Do you tink. When Adeline dies.

In one of her letters to Imlay. it consists in these relations. in her Romantic friendship with Fanny Blood as well as in the famous escapade in which she asked Henry Fuseli to allow her to live with him and his wife. a welter of intimacies outside the framework of professions and institutions and ordinary social obligations. Yes. and Imlay’s current mistress. Could Wollstonecraft’s proposal really have been indecorous to such a hardened and public philanderer as Imlay? This was an arrangement that Imlay was certainly not too sexually but too politically prudish to accept. They portray families not nuclear nor 80 . .” Insofar as he (consciously. their daughter Fanny. these novels can be read as only revolutionary in the sense of bourgeois. It is not the way many queers live. Godwin calls the proposal “injudicious” (Memoirs 252). Wollstonecraft offers rather queerly to establish a home consisting of Imlay. Imlay refuses. at least) uses the word “injudicious” as a term of disapprobation for Wollstonecraft’s attempt to live with Imlay and his mistress. Wollstonecraft showed herself to be less impoverished. Marriage marks that line. If there is such a thing as a gay way of life.]127 In her life. . his word for “queer. Straight culture has much to learn from it [. Wollstonecraft. . Godwin points to his own inability to imagine the most radical consequences of fully lived political justice. But then of course they will have to be condemned aesthetically as bad novels because they do not effectively imagine the heterosexual domos.The impoverished vocabulary of straight culture tells us that people should be either husbands and wives or (nonsexual) friends.

We do not have to read philosophical romance through the lens of compulsory heterosexuality.“extended” with kin. If the political and aesthetic power of the philosophical romance depends upon the virtue of witnesses.” 81 . naming “relations of durability and care” and involving “an astonishing range of intimacies” that are sexually charged but also very complex because “the rules [for these relationships] have to be invented as we go along” (116). bound together by the continuous performance of personal justice. are queer as Warner defines it. and the domestic arrangements that they idealize. then let’s witness better and call it “good. The endings of these novels. which Hays and Wollstonecraft at least were trying to do in their lives. One can see the achievement of these novels when one looks at them as explorations of what fails in Godwin’s revolutionary epistemology once it is put into action in the real world. but queer.

intrapsychically. rather. 82 . Barbauld’s pamphlets and poems in which she attacks fellow Romantic poets reveal the politically retrograde side of depressive passions. but not in the world. whether Dissenters. Depressive inertia may be an affective means for revolting against “things as they are. frosty icicle. Methodists. or Established Church.Chapter 3: The Politics and Poetics of Religious Melancholy: Anna Barbauld While many recent analyses of melancholia have focused on it as a mode of resistance to capitalist and politically oppressive modes of social exchange. a view of God as “tyrannical” and “unjust. The despair experienced by religious people.”128 Such a God can only be modeled on the arbitrary tyrant of feudal social arrangements. Both Barbauld and Hays reason against such a view of God. melancholy resistance fails to “cut off the head of the king. earning for themselves denigrating epithets from Coleridge who felt that the Unitarians were trying to “run Religioun thro’ with an Icicle. which requires.”129 Absent the grace-giving. Those who suffer from religious melancholy transfer their understanding of unjust human authority to their image of God. Coleridge’s poetry turns into a depressive storm.” as Foucault puts it. both economic and artistic. is based on the Calvinist doctrine of pre-destination.” to quote Godwin’s name for social inequities. as Mary Hays says explicitly in her Appeal to Men of Great Britain on Behalf of Women (1798). particularly in terms of gender politics. but for Barbauld as well as for other Unitarians. Barbauld argues: tacitly paying homage to the Calvinist God. high Romantic poetry simply transposes repressive feudal distinctions into a modern depressed form of consciousness that limits the liberating potential of Enlightenment thinking.

for a short time principal of Warrington Academy where Barbauld was raised and where she met Priestley – almost all Unitarians were de facto materialists.130 even though it has been less influential. John Taylor. of which Wollstonecraft’s is only one variety. Dr. [her] sweetest empire is — to please” was rendered infamous by Mary Wollstonecraft who attacked it virulently. I will now show how this Unitarian respect for the material manifested itself first in Barbauld’s gender politics. William McCarthy has rightly pointed out that Wollstonecraft may be wrong to call Barbauld sexist: there are feminisms. Gender Politics Anna Letitia Barbauld’s adage that a woman’s “best. whether as radical as Joseph Priestley or more middle-of-the road. Her gender politics are based upon the very same materialist theology that makes nonsense of individuating and isolating despair – a despair that seems purely personal. Barbauld proposes a materialist or “difference” feminism that is as powerful as Wollstonecraft’s rationalist or “equality” feminism. 83 . but it also followed from rejecting the doctrine of original sin: flesh is not intrinsically evil. but is in reality Calvinist theology internalized. and then in her antiRomantic theory of poetics. or psychologically necessary. Their materialism followed logically from the new science and the psychological model of the association of ideas formulated by John Locke and David Hartley (Watts 41). I. Richard Price. calling it an articulation of the “sensuous error” that has promoted sexism for centuries. as was Dr. Olive Griffiths insists. It has been less influential because it fits less well than Wollstonecraft’s into the paradigm of Romantic individualism.Almost all Unitarians. was unusual. Giffiths argues.

we will all be physically resurrected during the last judgment (181-2).133 First she wonders whether the soul leaves the body on death. hid from sight. in a very materialistic reading of Locke. When introducing an anthology of poetry that she has collected to educate women. and . / Dost thou thy flight pursue. / Wait. The Female Speaker. [originally] void of all Characters” which is “furnished” by experience (Essay II.131 According to Priestley. iii-iv). / To 84 . as William McCarthy points out in his notes. the property of perception.Barbauld takes very seriously John Locke’s master metaphors for the mind as “white Paper. like some spell-bound knight / Through blank oblivious years th’appointed hour. Barbauld sees soul in terms of Locke’s mental tablets and unfurnished rooms. . mind or spirit is a substance to be written on and a room filled with furniture. is the result of such an organical structure as the brain. as well as the powers termed mental. Barbauld offers only those works that “deserve to be” “indelibly impressed upon the memory” and thereby make up “the real furniture of [women’s] minds” (Preface of the Editor. Barbauld’s poem “Life” offers. . “the whole of man is of some uniform composition. as do Joseph Priestley – her mentor -.i. both the traditional notion that the soul leaves the body when one dies and an alternative materialist understanding of death. whether “To the vast ocean of empyreal flame.”132 Such materialism doesn’t worry Priestley even though he is a devout Christian because he does not believe “that a future life [in heaven] depends upon the immateriality of the human soul” (181): according to the Book of Revelation. when freed / From matter’s base encumbering weed?” But then she offers Priestley’s scenario: “Or dost thou.David Hartley. and many mainstream Unitarians.2): for Locke. / From whence thy essence came.

is resurrected at the last judgment to “reassume its power. there would be no talk of “parting. however. rather.“O whither. whither dost thou fly?” she asks. the poem “Life” really does not offer two alternatives in a simple way. / But know that thou and I must part” (Poems 166).” The sense of life as lover offered by the poem. Priestley” that describes the difference between insects and humans in terms of the traditional Christian notion 85 . and Barbauld assumed the usual Christian dualism. debates over the materiality of the soul and its relation to the body in which Scottish Enlightenment philosophers such as Adam Ferguson and (later) Dugald Stewart participated. the term combining body and soul. Poems 319).connects this term that ambivalently refers to body and soul with pleasure.” but life not in the sense of vitalis. God breathed life into clay. the soul waits until the body. -.134 Life could be soul. or it could be body. she engages in the debates that took place in the 1770s between Priestley and Richard Price. life in the sense of spirit. Pleasure is of course itself a conundrum for dualists: is it always physical? Is there such a thing as mental pleasure? I imaginatively reconstruct Barbauld coming upon a materialist philosophy early in her writing life. clearly refers to the world of objects: “Life! I know not what thou art.” However. In Barbauld’s very use of the word “Life” instead of soul. and describes death as a “strange divorce” -. If “life” meant soul. from which it is inseparable. Barbauld’s poem “Life” begins with an epigraph from Hadrian’s “To His Soul. In the late 1760s and early 1770s.break thy trance and reassume thy power?” In this case. for example.” which Pope translates as “Ah fleeting Spirit! Wand’ring Fire” (McCarthy’s note. The key word in this epigraph is “Animula” which means “little soul” or “little life. The word “life” as Barbauld uses it in the first two lines of the poem. she wrote a poem “To Mrs. as in.

is borne aloft upon wings variegated in the pride of most beautiful colors.” and “Heaven. but renewed in a different one.”135 But here pleasure is clearly physical. and displays the activity of a new life. and scarcely touches a plant but to suck from its flower the finest part of its juices.138 Here the insect’s joy comes from his “new” life and not from the grosser existence that preceded it. and Stewart uses this analogy to show that “the dissolution of the body does not necessarily infer the extinction of the soul” even if the soul is not in fact separate from the body (v.136 In arriving at his notorious materialism. . . . . and is distinct from “glory. Ferguson’s works. or devoured the grosser part of a leaf on which he was hatched. but both existences are represented as physical. In contrast to “Man. .382). he comes to perform all his movements in the air. / Their life all pleasure. 86 .137 There is a crucial passage from Ferguson quoted extensively by Stewart in his 1793 Outlines of Moral Philosophy that attempts to understand the nature of the soul in terms of insects: It has been observed that the Author of Nature appears to delight in variety . . at the time that Barbauld presented her poem to his household. lives at first in the form of a worm or caterpillar. Among [”such . / But glory. virtue. . and thus from a reptile that crept on the ground. Priestley could have been reading. and their task all play. . virtue. successive variations”] there are many examples of progression coming in one line or direction to an end. The butterfly . breaks the crust of the chrysalis in which he was cased. Heaven for Man design’d” (Poems 8). . during the heat and the light of noon. .that humans have souls: “Pleasure’s the portion of th’inferior kind. .” insects “idly fluttering live their little hour.” food for the soul (Poems 8). He awakes from his torpid condition. published in a series of letters in 1778. I imagine Priestley reading and arguing with Barbauld about her dualistic premise since she produced this poem at the moment that he was immersed in a debate with Price over the materiality of the soul. he sports in the sun.

cocoon-like. Mary Hilton persuasively argues that Barbauld.” However it happened. she says at the end of the poem. she says in “On Female Studies.” and. developed the sense that society in each of its successive stages fulfills a providential design:139 she began to think at this time about what pleasures for women. because they are trained to be virtuous. offer spiritual redemption. death for her is ravishment. given their physical and cultural specificity. Barbauld will die not by shedding her sense. virtue. and heaven. The belief that body and spirit are not distinct entities enables Barbauld to claim for women higher moral authority as sensual beings. and then is resurrected. not by sailing up out of the body that allows her to have sensations.I imagine Priestley arguing with Barbauld that the pleasure of her insects does not differ markedly from the pleasure taken in “glory.” Barbauld imagines her own death. ll. including Wollstonecraft. from reading William Paley.”140 While most writers. and. sensation brought to the highest degree of pleasure. Barbauld began thinking about material existence and pleasure as continuous with spiritual existence. Priestley’s notion — not contradicted by Ferguson or Stewart — is that the body goes into another state after death. “bursting on my sight / Shall stand unveil’d. they are diverted from developing tastes that will misguide their souls: “the broader mirth and more boisterous gayety of the other sex are to [women] prohibited. Death. Women are capable of being governed by reason.” a moment “When all [the] splendours” of the universe.”141 Barbauld does not see physical passion as antithetical to 87 . In “A Summer Evening’s Meditation. Rather. 119-121). see sensibility’s connection to physical sensuousness as putting it “on the brink of vice” if not “curbed by reason. to my ravish’d sense / Unlock the glories of the world unknown” (Poems 84. is “the hour [that] will come.

she says. In “Female Education. and dispose her to the quickest relish of what is pathetic. “will open to you an inexhaustible fund of wonder and delight” (43). “stay simple. directing women away from the bawdy (bad taste) and toward great art (good taste). To you. She aligns a rationally and tastefully directed sensibility with a chastity that nonetheless unabashedly procures inordinate amounts of pleasure: [T]he purity and simplicity of heart which a woman ought never.” Barbauld insists that “polite literature” is more attractive than the bawdy jokes one hears in “commerce with the world. pure. fit her in a peculiar manner for the worlds of fancy and sentiment. and secluded so that your bodily desires don’t get corrupted by being sexualized and your pleasure reduced. and you cannot neglect them without neglecting a very copious source of enjoyment.” pleasure that is physical but not sexual. therefore. and secluded so that you save your soul by not being tempted by bodily desires. pure. Cultivation pleases self as much as others142 – and here we can see the basis for the much-maligned poetic line. “stay simple. for her reason is not “a curb” on passion but a directional device.” To Freud. the beauties of poetry. Barbauld would say: to see sublimation as not physical because de-sexualized comes from the symptomatic sexualization of all physical pleasure. In psychoanalytic terms. it’s the untoward result of Calvinistic theology. and all. just like repression. 88 . that is comprised under the term of polite literature. lie particularly open. desire with ravishment. sexualization is a defense. of moral painting. to wear off. “Woman’s greatest empire is to please.” Barbauld adequates receiving with giving pleasure. in Barbauld’s terms.spiritual growth.” She’s saying. her very seclusion from the jarring interests and coarser amusements of society. in her freest commerce with the world. Cultivating the mind. sublime. in general. (41-2) She’s not saying. or tender.” providing “a very copious source of enjoyment.

whereas material conditions remain central to Barbauld’s notion of mutuality in difference. . For Barbauld. In writing “The Rights of Woman.” although.In Priestley’s scheme. according to Priestley. . no such figured thing can exist. via “reason and taste.” Barbauld clearly had in mind this Priestleyan notion of physical attraction. It is true: equality feminism such as Wollstonecraft’s denies that physical differences have intellectual requirements and effects. Every “figured thing. but never canst be free” (line 20). . “[E]very body. has soul because of (and not despite) its physical attractiveness.”145 pointing out that equality differs from the sense of mutuality conveyed by the poem. meaning and matter. and recognize instead “That separate rights are lost in mutual love” (line 32). it is nothing independent of matter. One recent critic has said that “‘equality’ is curiously absent from her vision. the way that one monitors one’s words. just as one channels the body’s physical desires. 143 Physical desire or “attraction” holds material particles together into a form. as solid and impenetrable. . But her sense of difference is not as anti-feminist as it first seems: while the mutuality described in 89 .” be it a poem or a person. and it is this desire that we call “soul. Barker-Benfield reads this poem as a straightforward commendation of sensibility as woman’s empire. even or especially the desire to “Resume [her] native empire o’er the breast!” (line 4).” Priestley says. . . unless the parts of which it consists have a mutual attraction . must necessarily have some particular form or shape.” determines the soul’s state which consists in the quality and degree of attractiveness and ravishment (pleasure given and pleasure received). it is pleasure or attraction that holds together spirit and body.144 but the poem clearly denigrates women who wish to use their sensibility only to rule: “Thou mayst command. The poem asks women to “abandon each ambitious thought” (line 29). of a beneficent attractiveness and ravishment.

. Not in the maze of metaphysic lore Build thou thy place of resting. II. And matter’s cumbrous shapings. Youth belov’d Of Science — of the Muse belov’d. for Barbauld. Here each mind Of finer mold . . in Barbauld’s view. (Poems 132) The “unsubstantial food” that Coleridge is eating while isolated in his world of thought — unsubstantial both physically and spiritually — has made him disdain “the grosser world. S. “coarser” kind of sensuality in which one person debases him or herself to the other. but still subservient.. And. [Barbauld says. on noble aims intent. . Rests for a space. is like being enchanted by Circe’s physical gratifications and degredations: she at first turns all of Odysseus’s crew into pigs.the phrase “mutual love” isn’t equalizing. all Romantic melancholy poetry -. Coleridge. love is – it is radically leveling. And loves the softened light and tender gloom. the higher form of mutual attraction raises each person to physico-spiritual perfection.has been vitiated by the “coarse” or degraded sensuality that arises from privileging a Calvinistic god: Midway [up] the hill of Science. art can promote both kinds of sensuality. lightly tread The dangerous ground. not here. Looks down indignant on the grosser world. delights them for a year with sumptuous 90 . and matter’s cumbrous shapings. it is only in the case of a lower.” Barbauld insists that Coleridge’s melancholy poetry -. out of love for Odysseus. whether romantic love or love of God is at stake. For Barbauld. Calvinist Poetics In “To Mr.. and then.] .. And be this Circe of the studious cell Enjoyed. Barbauld says..” But being “indignant” at physicality. As I will now show. T. in fairy bowers entranced. pampered with most unsubstantial food.and indeed.

. as it is humiliating to the saint" (II. She attacks people like Price for debasing themselves to God because she sees the impulse to do so as the same impulse that drives a courtier to debase himself to a King (II. is an idea as consolatory to the profligate. the system of absolute monarchy (II. Melancholy self-humiliation is.”146 Joy drives people together to worship. she says. melancholic profligacy comes from degraded sensuality of the kind that makes obeisance to a monarch pleasurable. For Barbauld. Joy is too brilliant a thing to be confined within our own bosoms . in other words.465). at the arbitrary whim of God. . . . but when kindled it must infallibly spread. By loitering in the groves of melancholy. . profligacy for the aspiring saint. poets who indulge in melancholy and represent that indulgence in their poems lead people astray because pronouncing humans worthless is in effect to promote Calvinism: "The idea that all are vile . Coleridge is not then feasting on air but indulging himself like a pig. which stimulates the appetite for and requires courtly sado-masochism. and “social devotion gives a colour and body to the deductions of reason” that leave melancholy idealists such as Berkeley “in a perplexed and 91 . whereas joy should. but this degraded sensuality comes from preferring the spiritual to the physical. then. In Barbauld’s view. according to Lacan). come from living under an unjust government. . The passion for self-humiliation should not be cultivated. .468). .467): the true God would not promote such inequities. Calvinistic beliefs that one is either saved or not independently of anything.feasting. Unlike sexual jouissance (pleasure that comes from the pain of the symptom. not vice versa. joy will impel a person to "seek for fellowship and communication": "The flame indeed may be kindled by silent musing.

tyrannical power who elects some and damns others but rather of discovering oneself to be most powerful. To put this in terms of her poem “To S. then. . . ll. “female” pleasures form the basis of Barbauld’s materialist aesthetic: in it. the waves of grief subside" (Poems 4. It takes writing like her own to reform the gross sensuality out of poetry written by men. God’s name reworks her passion so that. she suddenly "feel[s] that name my inmost thoughts controul / And. ll. 71-2). Colour and body are good. women are taken to be most capable of forming and imprinting beauty on the world. Love of God – the love activated by “mutual love” among humans – doesn’t involve prostrating oneself before an arbitrary. T. attenuated melancholy is spiritually misleading. but. instead of the masochistic sublime thrill of “gloomy terrors. can get caught in Circe’s cell only half-way up the hill of knowledge and needs a woman poet to help him climb higher. on the contrary.” Barbauld is saying that a male poet. means forming their minds. 92 . Coleridge. “Pleasing” men. gray. / . . Barbauld’s theology includes the notion that good spiritual love does not supplant an allegedly sinful physical appetite. . used to coarser pleasures.” she “feel[s]” the intensely passionate exultation of being “omnipotent in thee” (5. refines it. . 11-13). Higher.” when God tells her his name. In “An Address to the Deity.444-5).doubting state” (Works II.

Brotherly equality had been postponed to the next life. – Jules Michelet. . women will be friends or equals deserving justice. that gave “birth” to modern. and history and the future. and Michelet’s own “hyperbolic” and surely defensive rhetoric also demonstrates. . but [France] taught it as the law on earth to the whole world. of the revolutionary redaction or incarnation of Christian friendship by those who violently ushered in the Western Enlightenment – “the Friends of Truth” in Germany148 and Friends of the People in England – is its sense of time: the “not yet” in Derrida’s rendition of Michelet’s voice. . She knows the word well enough.Chapter 4: The First Women (Psycho-)Analysts. she does not understand – not yet – the fraternal promise. . – Jacques Derrida. progressive hopes instilled by the French Revolution. not friend enough. Brotherhood. As Derrida’s ventriloquism of Michelet shows us. . The Politics of Friendship. being a friend of feminists is impossible. or the Friends of Feminist History France has continued the Roman and Christian work that Christianity had promised . quoted by Jacques Derrida The woman is not yet fraternal enough. . Le Peuple. she does not know what it will and should mean. but are not so yet – “perhaps” they will be. . no less: “She can spell the sacred word of the new age. above all. but cannot yet read it.149 It is ironic that Derrida’s Michelet sees women as dead to the sacred promise of providential history. for they certainly were not so to the secular. however.”147 What alters the masculinist bias. She reads it literally but does not yet have access to what it thinks in spirit – and so it is the sacred that she misses. obviously. ventriloquizing and quoting Michelet In one very real sense. . . Western feminism. . . nor a sister a brother. she does not yet know what “fraternity” means. the Enlightenment sense of friendship is bound up with fraternité: only brothers can be friends. the era. . but she does not possess the concept . is called brotherhood in the language of man. [Its] principle .” Not yet. “where a woman cannot replace a man. 93 .

womanhood. By returning to Wollstonecraft’s works. thereby transferring the addressee in some of their most important works to the future – to us. as well as its limits. and the works of another woman in her radical circle. For my purposes. the listener or friend. Rather. Psychoanalysis –secular millenarianism like William Godwin’s – is as much a cure for as it is the legacy of Enlightenment thinking. I should say.”150 an “egalitarian refusal of the feminine. transferring it to the subject’s terroristic ability to get its way.”151 Also. Similarly. as Barbara Taylor points out. or. the limits we place on it by our own modes of reading. sometimes hampered by the very Enlightenment philosophy prompting its “birth. and 94 . and thus is the first realistically utopian feminist text. This power would not be imperial potency. rather than as positing a subject whose voice hails from a female body but who nonetheless has the power to articulate its wishes. Mary Hays. we can begin to understand some of Enlightenment feminism’s greatest achievements. it is the first feminist text written with a sense that achieving a radically egalitarian society through education and reform is possible (211).” I use scare quotes. We too quickly read Wollstonecraft as postulating (or refusing) an identity. It is (Re)public(an) insofar as the speaking subject performs desires within a Republic comprised of three: him or herself. because there were feminisms before Wollstonecraft published her second Vindication in 1792. feminism is both antidote to and child of Enlightenment thought. this is the power to articulate in a comprehensible way the subject’s desires. it is sufficient to say that the Vindication of the Rights of Woman first codifies “equality feminism. They convert friendships among radicals into psychoanalytic relationships. of course. turning it to feminist ends.Mary Hays and Mary Wollstonecraft make use of this decidedly masculinist structure of Enlightenment friendship. nor even the fraternité that seems unable to do away with sovereignity.

152 Oppression operates. as a woman” inscribes victimhood by rendering selfcategorization necessary. He thereby avoids asking current historians to begin their projects by rummaging around in their own unconscious minds.” In response. Accurate History But to what extent does partisanship born of hope for a better society deform rather than reform reality? From a politically and epistemologically astute position. Eurocentrism. but uttering it with impact. by reducing a subject to an identity. and so on. sexism. Speaking as a subject from the position of being oppressed is quite tricky. and.” rendering it a mythic or Imaginary enemy: “orientalism. a victimizing Subject too powerfully issues its decrees by setting up the scene of articulation that renders self-objectification necessary. To perform desire.” 153 Cultural critics project Manichean images of the bad and the good onto the past. it is not the same as (imperialistically or terroristically) achieving gratification. by rendering inaudible the desires of the historically oppressed.implicitly whoever else shares the medium of articulation. Here. it is a scene made possible by hope. homophobia. current political agency is disowned by becoming “things as they were. Simpson argues that academic literary historians can get critical purchase on our blindnesses by deliberately seeking out information that is uninteresting. for even to say “I protest. Yet we still need to ask not “why is history othered?” but “why is history othered?” 95 . the prerogative constitutive of subjectivity as such. A. precisely. It is another scene for speaking. it is not realizing one’s wish. like the couch. The decidedly not fraternal partisanship that is the focus of this chapter reverses this objectification by rendering the oppressed person’s articulations audible and powerful. David Simpson has argued that cultural-studies critics characteristically deliver history in “parodic or reductive form. is to make it heard with visible impact on another.

since it condemns them to chronicity while mystifying the complexity of textual negotiations over time. But it is predicated on the proposition that. In fact.”159 According to Cynthia Marshall. archival histories. “The possibility of realism .157 When applied to the reality of the past – one possible definition of history158 – partisanship promotes objectivity. that an historian’s involvement in political activism deforms his or her view of history. as Georg Lukács says.” or “colonialism”? Why does the proverbial dead white Western male have to be dead? My own answer will have to await the end of this chapter. arguing in the process that the psychoanalysis of historical subjectivities generated by texts brings us closer to the real than do immanent. If Lukács is right. 96 . psychoanalysis is useful precisely to the extent that it can analyze this mystery: [T]raditional historiography erases “the act of making history. is bound up with that minimal hope of change for the better offered by bourgeois society. .160 This chapter focuses on “textual negotiations over time” and the role played by friendship.”155 It cannot be. then understanding history makers is crucial to analyzing “the mystery of [the past’s] presence to us.” “orientalism.” Indeed. why turn to past “hegemonies. . perfectly amenable to assuming the black-hat of otherness. as Thomas Haskell puts it.Given that cultural criticism focuses on present-day concerns.”156 Representing reality requires some utopianism. historicist models may be shackled by their insistence on immanence. simply.154 why talk about the past at all? Given that there are so many existing bad guys. “[o]bjectivity is not neutrality. the “minimal” hopefulness that comes from befriending the oppressed.

.162 “ye friends of freedom” addressed by Richard Price in the speech that provoked Edmund Burke to write and publish his Reflections on the Revolution in France.”161 past inequities that persist in the form of current suffering.As Dominick LaCapra puts it. for that would be justice. eternally renewing their claims in effective apposition to the verdicts rendered by history and achieving thereby a plaintiff immortality.”166 In Christensen’s partisan (but not projective nor parodic) type of history. as other. Godwin deliberately substitutes the term “advocate” for “friend” in the phrase “advocates of liberty” in order to avoid connecting his views with those of the members of various “associations” distrusted by a “panic struck” public. that the other will come.”163 In his Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. political senses of the word: the Friends of Truth (see note 2). The past leaves us with ghostly “traumatic residues” (196) that consist in history’s failure to take someone’s part. to be their “friend” in both the Enlightenment and Romantic-era. psychoanalytic histories that analyze transference and countertransference give us greater access to the unarticulated residue of suffering caused by socio-political and economic circumstances. . This sense of friendship is a historically particular variant of what Derrida describes as a universal structure: it consists in the “hope . Whereas projective histories flatten reality.164 Fear of revolution silences complaints of injustice that only friends and advocates will hear. the “Friends of Liberty” described by radical Thomas Walker. and revolution. through which. as Jerome Christensen says.165 Subjectification is also an ideal mode of history making. peace. there is “a residue of the past that cannot be made good. but it does not permanently erase them. counterclaims that were made by the historically extinct are put into “effective apposition” to the dominant tale through the agency of 97 . “the excluded and the extinct can make common cause.

One wrong turn sometimes taken in feminist criticism. the historian who shares the concerns of the oppressed tries to turn them back into speaking subjects. what impels one to the couch is the idea that perhaps there could be another tale to tell. it is not enough to know how to bear the other in mourning. as visible most recently in Judith Butler’s [ital.167 In this passage.the currently excluded. One way to enact this kind of partisanship is through the attentive listening or openness to the other that is cultivated within the psychoanalytic scene. Avoiding the masculinist bias in analyzing subjectivity is not easy. to become a coherent subject. one must love the future.]The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection. Butler defines "psyche" as subjectivity and equates the "subject" with "identity" ("coherent subject" and "coherent identity" are in grammatical apposition). She does so because 98 . B.” “addressing oneself to the possible” (Politics 67): “For to love friendship. both are animated by the structural feature that for Derrida renders friendship rather than hostility politically radical: the structure of the “perhaps. Although Lukács’s ideal of friendly partisanship seems to contrast with more psychoanalytic accounts. Hope for a better future is also the essence of the political partisanship Lukács proposes: those oppressed by history are objectified by it. Similarly. And there is no more just category for the future than that of the ‘perhaps’” (Politics 23).[/end ital. is very different from the subject: the psyche is precisely what exceeds the imprisoning effects of the discursive demand to inhabit a coherent identity. The Potent Political Subject It is common to connect subjective potency to having the phallus and so to masculinity.] consists in reducing the subject to an identity: [T]he psyche which includes the unconscious. another fate.

she equates. it is not sheerly "juridical" as Butler claims that it is (101). as she claims Lacan does. with a thing regulated by norms. The grammatical subject can be said to be subjective: it is not only the ego ideal. the performance of subjectivity of any person at a previous historical moment is not yet complete insofar as reading past texts performs acts now.” Benveniste also calls it (220).” An instance or “exercise of language. the only resistance possible is inarticulate. and Emile Benveniste explains what that more is. “can be assumed by each speaker on the condition that he refers each time only to the instance of his own discourse.”169 This definition of subjectivity renders the problems of becoming a subject performative and therefore social. the grammatical subject ("the 'position' of the subject within the symbolic. 168 In that case. Positing the "I" (assuming a position rather than referring to oneself as a person) includes the unconscious insofar as it always and everywhere refers to something more than any "I" who utters it. Traditional histories reflect a sexist bias insofar as they assess the potency of selfexpressions. In the case of written artifacts.” Instead. essentialized. The phrase "coherent subject" is an oxymoron. "I" only names an identity if it is reduced. and by this it designates the speaker. pinned to some referent." 86) is not indeed distinct from the psyche.” Beneveniste says. erasing the difference between Imaginary identification and the subject’s power of Symbolic articulation. However. in my view. is thus an instant in time. I. "I" with ego-ideal. Benveniste says. Reducing the subject to an identity risks rendering persons Imaginary flat characters wearing white or black hats.170 The “mobile sign. Focusing on any speech act as quotable or iterable event rather than as self- 99 . Benveniste insists that the word “I” does “not refer to a concept or to an individual. “I refers to the act of individual discourse in which it is pronounced.

” There are still too few of such friends now.” she publicly announces Hays’s own despair over rejection by William Frend. her desire for Imlay. offer us an accurate rendition of life during Britain’s conservative reaction against the French Revolution when there were too few “friends of women” as well as too few “friends of the people. Jacobus notices that when the heroine of Hays’s quasibiographical novel Memoirs of Emma Courtney asserts. as well as of reducing the psyche of an historical other to an identity: this subject is potential rather than potent in the sense of phallic. “Traces” 213-219). her dependence 100 .” a great name for a female stalker. Memoirs of the Author of a Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Hays’s “selfanalysis” via letters to William Frend and William Godwin recast for inclusion in her posthumously published novel Emma Courtney (Jacobus. Hays and Wollstonecraft are habitually depicted as having neurotic attachments to men. and feminist critics such as Janet Todd (Wollstonecraft’s most recent biographer) understandably feel betrayed by Wollstonecraft’s weakness. “I am friendless. Wollstonecraft’s letters to the lover and father of her child who deserted her. that Elizabeth Hamilton dubbed Hays “Botherim. I will try to achieve in our instant the performance of subjectivity begun by texts from the 1790s – my way of being a good friend.171 This attachment appears so pathological. Mary Jacobus has emphasized personal loss. are importunate. whitewashed.expression is one way to avoid masculinizing the subject. Wollstonecraft’s self-analysis in her letters to Gilbert Imlay. and Godwin’s analysis of Wollstonecraft in his biography. Gilbert Imlay. In a recent psychoanalytic reading of both writers. one would imagine. Epistolary works by Hays and Wollstonecraft addressed to someone who serves as a (psycho-)analyst show personal loss compounded by historical trauma. even after being fictionalized and so. In my readings.

on a man to the detriment of her feminist principles.172 The only published correspondence of Hays, edited by A. F. Wedd, includes similarly neurotic love letters to her fiancé, John Eccles. And in tracing Hays’s relationships with various intellectual mentors throughout the 1790s, Gina Luria Walker speaks eloquently of Hays’s anxiety that she herself is “de trop,” a problem “that Godwin, Wollstonecraft, and others of their circle contended with in the 1790s.”173 The implication is that Hays behaved in sexually inappropriate ways, linking Hays’s neurotic problems to Wollstonecraft’s sexual overvaluation of Imlay. Ever since there has been a disconnect between the view of Hays and Wollstonecraft as beset by personal, sexual problems and the understanding of Wollstonecraft by her last, “best” analyst, Godwin, whose Memoirs have been called her “case history.”174 From the reviewers, who thought Godwin had exposed his wife as a prostitute, to the most recent work on Wollstonecraft that finds her attitudes towards eroticism “deeply contradictory” (Taylor 208), we have converted Wollstonecraft’s subjective performances to expressions about her personal (oversexed) self, a strategy typical of anti-democratic sexism: since Wollstonecraft, Myers points out, feminism has been “yoked” to “sexual profligacy” (302). This pathologizing and personalizing of Wollstonecraft’s principles has been noticed as sexist, paradoxically, by the very critics who (re)perform it such as Cora Kaplan and Barbara Taylor. In contrast, both Wollstonecraft and Godwin regard verbal and physical actions as exemplary for a future world to be ruled by the simple principle of equality. Thus, in one notebook passage Godwin links the (sexually) aggressive Mary who visits him at home on her own initiative, and alone, to the radical politico intent upon bringing about a “revolution in female manners”:175


Her visit, it seems is to be deemed a deviation from etiquette; but she had through life trampled on those rules which are built on the imbecility of her sex; and had trusted to the clearness of her spirit for the direction of her conduct, and to the integrity of her views for the vindication of her character.176 Godwin published his Memoir for the benefit of posterity: he wrote it, he says, to “assert and establish [her] honour” in the face of “thoughtless calumny” because her life was in fact “the fairest source of animation and encouragement to those who follow . . . in the same career”(Clemit and Walker 43). By vindicating her character against the imputation that she is psycho (Mary, stalker of Fuseli, Imlay, and finally Godwin, the latter being the only one of the three to welcome her in her mad pursuit), Godwin participates in the utopianism of her two vindications that analyzed the oppression of men and women by unequal social systems. Given his absolute faith in the connection between being psycho and analytic, we might better see her presumed contradictoriness about sexuality as in fact produced by our collective politically and historically conditioned repression. We are still unable to see her system. Befriending past women writers requires letting Hays and Wollstonecraft analyze us: “transference is nothing apart from the countertransference”; “the transference . . . [is] the operation of the analyst who interprets it.”177 As I show below, these two friends of feminist history reveal the sexism harbored by feminisms that undercut Hays and Wollstonecraft’s claims to be legitimate subjects of desire.178 C. Analytic Friendship Both Wollstonecraft and Hays established relationships that involved not just transference but more important, transference neurosis. Both selected certain men to function as


psychoanalysts in their own lives for the sake of cure. I’m not going to make the familiar argument that Joseph Johnson helped Wollstonecraft overcome her suicidal depression, although that’s true. In fact, what Johnson called Wollstonecraft’s frank manner (“she was incapable of disguise,” Clemit and Walker 163) led her to create among her intimates a series of friends / psychoanalysts: Johnson, Gilbert Imlay, and then William Godwin. Imlay and Godwin become her psychoanalysts, and Godwin also becomes Mary Hays’s psychoanalyst (Jacobus, “Traces” 214), for at least two reasons I will adumbrate here. Because of Imlay’s subsequent turn to business, for which Wollstonecraft berates him, it is difficult to remember that he was among a circle of radicals gathered in France and that he shared their desire to tear down the corrupt fabric of “sophisticated society” via unflinching statements of “simple principles.”179 What makes Imlay and Godwin into friends of the psychoanalytic sort, first and foremost, is their radical faith in what Freud called “the fundamental rule,” psychoanalysis’s most necessary component: no self censorship. The revolutionary hope for radical equality creates a space for uttering inaudible desires and stimulates faith that they will be, eventually, at least, articulable. It is really only the capacity to imagine a radical democracy – Luckács’s “hope” – that gives psychoanalysis its material and its goal. Second, they become psychoanalysts because neither answers either woman’s letters with more than a cursory response. Wollstonecraft constantly berates Imlay for failing to answer, so much so that the selections published as Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark were characterized by Coleridge in “Kubla Khan” as a “woman wailing for her demon-lover.”180 For Hays and Godwin, Godwin’s silence was part of what he explicitly


calls “our . . . contract.”181 Imlay’s and Godwin’s “silences”182 serve one function of what psychoanalysts call “analytic neutrality”:183 they render visible the distortions when past unstated wishes are transferred into the present. One of Godwin’s rare missives to Mary Hays explicitly accuses her of “distortion of mind in relation to me” (26 Dec. 1797, Wedd 242). And in one of Wollstonecraft’s last letters to Imlay, she wonders whether he ever corresponded to her own fantasmatic construction of him (6 Sept. 1795, Todd 6.427).184 But even if analytic, in what sense could neutrality in the form of silence actually be seen as “friendship”? Probably few ever really believed that a psychoanalyst is a passively observing, completely objective and objectifying scientist. But recent developments in psychoanalytic theory suggest that the analyst is more like than unlike a friend. According to Dutch psychoanalyst Nikolaas Treurniet, “Few analysts now regard feeling reactions to patients in the clinical situation as an obstacle to the analytic work.” 185 “The old image of the analyst” as a detached scientist “has now been replaced by that of the ‘participant observer’” from whom active expressions of empathy are required (600). Still, the relationship is not reciprocal: it is a two-person engagement with a one-person focus: “the principal object of analysis remains the emotional – i.e., experiential – acquisition of insight into the analysand’s own person . . .” (606). But even though only one person is revealed to the other, the psychoanalyst is necessarily affected by the analysand’s speech. For Treurniet, analysis provides a “corrective emotional experience” that obeys the ethical injunction to respond naturally to patients rather than to deliberately manipulate them.186 Though theoretically at odds with Freud’s sense of analytic neutrality, Treurniet’s practice seems to me closer to Freud’s than classical psychoanalysts


these two “friends” exist in a condition of “epistemological equality” (620). . that Freud’s cases were successful only insofar as he allowed his patients to participate in his theory building. Though one friend in this scene is allegedly more alienated from reality by personal mental illness than the other. she produces metapsychology through him (614-617).would like to admit.187 How do Imlay and Godwin differ from simply bad correspondents. Freud shared so many of his metapsychological speculations with his patients. and Godwin failed as Hays’s. as Wollstonecraft’s. Treurniet describes “a female patient” who is “a second-generation Holocaust victim of Jewish parents” as having “fragile contact with reality. given Treurniet’s work. and there is ample evidence that they deliberately produced and manipulated some of them. Such a contribution can only be called political. . John Durham Peters defines Christian agapē – a millenarian. It might be possible to argue. . Treurniet is able to theorize that “structural change” or analytic success is possible only insofar as “the analyst is used by the analysand . Cultivating non-aggressive friendliness requires something more than passivity on the analyst’s part. of 105 . For the moment in better contact with reality than he. Thanks to his patient. but succeeded later.” but he tells of a session when she aroused anger in him and then correctly diagnosed his interpretation as retaliatory. . and he praises “passive resistance” to one’s own desire for interpretive mastery over another by calling it “the majesty . So Imlay failed as Wollstonecraft’s analyst. hopeful love – as an unwillingness to interpret. The analysand’s cure was effective because she could successfully analyze the psychoanalyst’s reactions for the future good of humankind. as a new object in an interactive process” (607). unresponsive friends? Silence can be aggressive: “what is neutral at one moment may be biased at another” (Treurniet 601).

“there is neither interested intention nor rivalry. Godwin first argues that friends must be unequal by arguing that the love of a parent for a child is paradigmatic. D. . . “[T]hough inequality is necessary to give . and a cordial acceptance on the other . because of her death. friendship involves “the unbending of the soul” by one who is “the superior party” to another who is “the unpretending. he turns to love between the sexes as the best example of it: “Nothing can be more certain. “[t]here is a pouring out of the heart on one side. this “modest and unassuming friend will be gratified in being instrumental” to someone “whom he so ardently admires” (290). In direct opposition to Michelet. This accepting other.” he says. disconcertingly. But by the end of the essay. just as in Michelet’s understanding of fraternité. Godwin writes.”189 In friendship. the inequality that has made 106 . For him. he theorizes along Treurniet’s lines how this inequality needs to be structured. prematurely. Godwin is describing friendship as a one-person analysis. raises an even greater alarm. completeness to friendship. so opposite to Wollstonecraft’s. however we may seek to modify and abate it. the inequality must not be too great” (291). Godwin sees friendship as neither brotherly nor based in equality. and moreover. in psychoanalytic terms. but then. are startling. If such sentiments.” but here the similarity ends. “than the inequality of the sexes” (292). . Godwin’s Burkean turn to chivalry as instantiating sexual inequality. In Godwin’s version of true friendship.nonresponsiveness. . from which he suffered deeply. unassuming party. .” (292).”188 The resistance to one’s own aggressiveness comes from the belief that a better interpretation (a better future) is always possible: Lukácsian hope. Revolutionary Friends Godwin theorizes friendship after his relationship with Wollstonecraft had ended. in order to prove that inequality is necessary to friendship.

” is the belief that anything could be said. nor any sex: chivalry teaches “mutual deference and submission.friendship and sexual love possible seems not permanently assignable to any party. and why both Wollstonecraft and Hays had such faith in an imminent “revolution in female manners. after reading the copy of Political Justice that he had lent to her. secular name for a relationship in which two people alternately submit to each other.” and the essay’s ending suggests to me that the superior. E. unequivocal sincerity. that it would be useful or becoming in us to utter. agreeably to the apostolic precept. “unbosoming” friend190 and the inferior listener frequently switch roles: “in all cases [of love and friendship] it is requisite there should be a mutual deference and submission. But this is a negative sincerity only. Godwin insists that Frankness has its limits.” 191 The radicals in general and Godwin in particular thus articulate the fundamental rule of psychoanalysis against self-censorship. If we would acquire a character for frankness. Feminist Friends What is truly revolutionary about the 1790s. But unlike Freud’s explicit formulation of the rule. Mary Hays’s second letter to Godwin. modern. praises its “energetic reasoning in favor of intrepid. Wollstonecraft asserts her faith in “the sacred majesty of truth” in her second Vindication (31). Our first duty regarding the faculty of speech is. ‘Likewise all of you be subject one to the other’” (297). We have no Western. except perhaps in the realm of personal psychopathology (“sadomasochism”). not to keep back what it would be beneficial to our neighbour to know. we must be careful 107 . beyond which it would cease to be either advantageous or virtuous: but we are not to conceal any thing.

”193 Godwin listened to all that was uttered by Wollstonecraft. he employs every precaution to guard himself against them” by never hazarding any claim “to decypher the whole character” of anyone’s history. In an essay on the connection between biography and history never published during his lifetime. thus with the faith that this being deserves to live in a better world.” her capacity to utter the truth of what was going on inside her for the sake of benefiting humankind. For to speak of the “real” meaning disregards these principles. “upon the watch for further. The analytic attitude will be evident in the analysts’s making a more modest as well as sounder claim. as to excite in him the idea that we are open. Godwin discusses what he calls “the genuine scholar” in a way that undeniably evokes a psychoanalyst. multiple function. as well as from the moving tribute to her in his “Essay on Sepulchres. and Hays (for a time. and ambivalence. ingenuous and fearless. 108 . at least) with “the analytic attitude”: with heartfelt admiration for an authentic being at work trying to create meaning in a world indisposed to hear.192 Godwin’s admiration for Wollstonecraft’s “true delicacy. . This scholar listens to the life history of a person with insatiable curiosity. . . one can only judge it to be a failure of the analytic attitude to encounter an analyst speaking of what something “really” means. namely.that our conversation is such. is clear from his publication of Memoirs. and still further particulars. Trembling for his own fallibility and frailty.194 Godwin here describes “the analytic attitude” and its magisterial resistance to preemptory interpretations as it has been formulated by Roy Schafer: If one takes seriously [the] principles of overdetermination. one not deaf to her desires.

and with it. few would understand me. with “the growing threat of state intervention” prosecuting as treasonous any writings that stimulate mob violence. even if they do so by being misconstrued.that a point has now been reached in the analytic dialogue where reality must be formulated in a more complex manner than it had been before. . Hays writes what might be considered the perfect articulation of an analysand’s early relation with the psychoanalyst: There are not many persons to whom I dare venture to disclose my heart. the belief that egalitarian wishes could and should be uttered by “the Friends of Liberty” (Goodwin. the sources of its disorder & its mistakes. was to be shut down toward the end of the 1790s. has encouraged me to speak freely.” without “Lady-like affectation. . & still fewer would sympathise with me. & this has inspired me with confidence. necessarily. & to investigate.” “without reserve & without apprehension. . You have on many subjects listened to me with indulgence. It is because you are a philosopher that I can unfold my mind without reserve or apprehension: you are able to trace.198 To Godwin. an even better community of friends capable of hearing it: a better world. .”197 with utter “confidence” in the correspondent’s rectitude.”196 But the personal consequences of this outspoken decade are visible in Wollstonecraft’s and Hays’s continual – and often anxious – asseverations to be “speaking . . This political version of Freud’s fundamental principle. freely. “and an alarmist recognition of the potentially revolutionary consequences of [a] new reading public . . 1798 if we are to believe Charles Fox. see note 17) for the sake of improving humankind. I feel 109 . . .195 But there is always the possibility that an even more complex formulation will come to pass.

199 Hays here articulates the fundamental rule. Godwin responds with openness to a letter in which she worries about having said or done “too much”: “[you hope] that. perhaps even inventor of the modern Memoir. steeped in Romantic adulation and brutal honesty. That Godwin’s theorizing about friendship so much resembles the newest accounts of the psychoanalytic relationship suggests – as does Bertha Pappenheim’s relation to psychoanalysis – that principled egalitarian utopianism.a degree of solicitude that my motives should not be disapproved by you. while we conceal any of their symtoms [sic]200 Hays’s faith in Godwin comes from her belief that his utopianism is visionary – if a little premature – and one can wonder whether Freud’s followers have the same motivations for their “faith” in the efficacy of psychoanalysis. a faith that she ultimately articulates explicitly in the very medical terms that Freud would adopt: I like your sincerity. an early. positive transference (what Freud sometimes called “transference-love”). ‘in despising false delicacy.” for her talking cure. after she turns from Imlay to him as psychoanalyst. and as the latter’s memoirist. though it will make yet more against me: but we cannot expect to have our disorders heal’d by the Phycisian [sic]. Godwin represents Freud’s fundamental principle to and for Wollstonecraft as well. and her hope for Godwin’s capacity to cure.’ I see nothing in you but what I respect and adore. & to afford you a still greater proof of my own. you have not lost sight of the true. I will give you a little farther insight into my character. because I respect your esteem.”201 Godwin was friend to Hays and Wollstonecraft. 110 . He was sought out for “unbosoming” by Hays and later Wollstonecraft in the very way that Breuer and Freud were sought out by “Anna O. however skilful he may be.

as. (313) While I sympathize with the disappointment over a woman’s neediness. in Todd’s memorable phrase about Wollstonecraft. lies at the core of a psychoanalytic practice that is constitutionally revolutionary. . though Emma appears to drive Augustus away by so avidly pursuing him. Reading Wollstonecraft as "psycho" turns feminists into sexists like Rousseau. when Freud heterosexualizes Dora or when it serves (as in Cheever’s “The Country Husband” or Foucault’s History of Sexuality) as the police. which it does whenever it goes (for the) psycho.202 Yet feminist anger at what appears to be Emma’s and Wollstonecraft’s neediness for men leads to some major contradictions. As for Wollstonecraft. a contradiction surfaces in Todd’s comments on the philosophical discourses contained in Wollstonecraft’s letters to Imlay: Had [Wollstonecraft] not scorned the literature of passionate women . “What nonsense!” (Vindication 26). the truer understanding lies with her. Todd’s advice here exactly reproduces Rousseau’s advice in Émile to make women appear weak and alluring. 111 . feminism.including. to which Wollstonecraft replied. she would have learnt that . especially an initiatory or pursuing one. though he wouldn’t admit it. . This insight need not be diminished even if one recognizes that psychoanalytic practice sometimes serves rather than opposes sexism. especially. intensity of affection. For one thing. frankness and . . for instance. . Hearing Otherwise The fictional Emma and the real Wollstonecraft articulate explicitly feminist principles yet. F. . appear to be victims of their own “clinging love” for a man. she actually turns out to have been right: Augustus Harley did love her all along. will not catch a man. and such a metamorphosis ought to make us suspect that representations of the female stalker are about more than they seem. . .

as her right. The “I” is an instance of discourse with legislative power. I should require a reciprocal faith plighted and returned – an after-separation. or Wollstonecraft. Emma writes to Augustus a letter very like many of Wollstonecraft’s to Imlay – “frank and judicious” in the same way: she demands from him. an object rather than an authoritative subject capable of bringing social formations into existence through self-positing. Emma’s “proposition” to Augustus is neither for marriage nor. but a private. “sacred” bond that would be sealed by their own avowals (s.203 The troth proposed is not state-sanctioned marriage because Emma is aware that Augustus will lose his inheritance if he marries. one who seeks symbiosis within a lost maternal imaginary. Emma Courtney 154). otherwise than by mutual consent. an “absurd bequest” but nonetheless binding (154). would be my destruction – I would not survive your desertion” (Hays. Wollstonecraft. These are not instances of the woman wailing for her demon lover but rather women trying to take up the position as subjects of desire.435-6. The “I” in “I would not survive your desertion” does not therefore refer to a particular. reserved for men. the troth 112 . That the pact was enacted. 438). not a public marriage. “I would not survive” sounds like the clingy. Letters 6. neurotic woman. Hays. she would be no more than a seduced maiden. for a liaison: “You cannot suppose. embodied person: it is not in fact Emma. she says. a position traditionally but not logically. Thus the witnesses and enactors of the bond are Augustus and “I”: if Augustus afterwards leaves Emma. socially feminine forms of obsession and dependence. This crucial sentence encapsulates the sentiment informing all of Wollstonecraft’s letters to Imlay. and not inescapably.a. that a transient engagement would satisfy a mind like mine.Both Wollstonecraft in her life and letters and Hays in Emma Courtney go to great lengths to distinguish these heroines arguing with their lovers from weak.

“My friend — my dearest friend — I feel my fate united to yours by the most sacred principles of my soul” (Letters 6. The “I” that would dissolve upon desertion is not a person desperately in need of all-encompassing love.” and when Wollstonecraft says to Imlay. Wollstonecraft says that he leaves her with “something like conviction” that it’s still possible to prosecute her cause (6.438). one cannot even say what one does know because in saying certain words one seems to be saying something else: the failure of articulation occurs at the hearing end. What is the connection between neurosis and history? Neurosis arises when for some reason a desire becomes inarticulable. that no such friend will ever exist who will ratify by adequately witnessing a woman’s assumption of the subject-position of articulate desire. “I would not survive your desertion.” what renders its positing successful.performed. F. In politics and history. analytic friends who alternate being each other’s partisans. the stalker rather than the subject verbally performing an act recognizable as such only in a radically egalitarian Republic comprised of revolutionary. In one of her last missives to Imlay. Just because he personally failed to respond adequately to her plaintiff subjectivity doesn’t mean that no such response will ever be possible. When Emma says to Augustus. what makes possible the speaker’s full accession to subjectivity.410). In that case. but the “I” capable of making a bond. we – as part of our historical neuroses – hear the psycho rather than the analytic. even suicide isn’t a psychotic act. is what hollows out the space of the “I. Conclusion 113 . neurotics cannot speak because they do not (consciously) know. but rather an attempt at enforcement of a pact the existence of which guarantees the full subjective power of its plaintiff.

Rather. we might guess that narratives of fatal attraction so fascinate us because they raise the specter of failed revolution – an insight 114 . then. As our friends. and Emma’s novelistic genealogy includes early loss of a mother. “Traces” 221-223). It is nonetheless true that these women seem needy – de trop. but objections not to the loss of an object of desire in which they are too deeply invested as needy women. the analysts of our counter-transference. Their works are filled with strident objections. At a certain point in history. but she is not always up to that task.I hope that this article has made it possible to hear attempts by Wollstonecraft and Hays at political efficacy as feminist reformers within what sound like evidences of personal mental illness. they object to the incapacity to articulate their desires with emotional impact. that her problems stem from the transfer of excessive affections from an overloved mother to an overvalued man (see Jacobus. when it became possible to hope that women could assume the position of subject of desire. they have shown us that the loss of subjective power can masquerade as inconsolable mourning over the loss of a symbiotic relationship – the nightmare identified by Janet Todd. They want to assert themselves as powerful subjects. as evinced by her worry about “true delicacy” in her letter to Godwin. At her best moments. Insofar as we are analyzed by them. as Walker puts it – even to themselves. Hays berates her heroine for imbibing “the delicious poison” of a “more than maternal fondness” as she cultivates a relationship with Augustus’s mother (Emma Courtney 101). articulations of desire slid easily for both the hearers and the utterers of them into psychological narratives about fatal attraction. suggesting. as any good psychoanalyst might. Wollstonecraft is able to see herself not as abnormal but exemplary for a world to come.

I might be (historically) blind. but also it is their cure of (our) history. then. not yet – that the language capable of tallying the difference between being psycho and analytic.” in the very same way that so many critics of every school are revolted by Freud. could have been effected through psychoanalysis (as Wollstonecraft’s probably was by the analyst Godwin). historian and historical objects have mutually achieved a complex. is still to come.204 It may be that Wollstonecraft’s insistence upon her own power to articulate audible desires did not fail.that seems counterintuitive to me. temporarily adequate articulation of reality. suggests the (psycho)analytic power of history itself – at least as a revolutionary tale. and the community of friends it implies. Through alternately exchanging roles of analyst and analysand. without their friendly intervention. perhaps. The “cure” of Hays and Wollstonecraft’s affective disorders. That we are currently revolted by “history. 115 . and thus a reality to which. in time.

208 But Godwin himself did not see his biography as unfeeling.207 and has been pronounced Wollstonecraft’s worst enemy by her other biographers from Archibald Rowan in 1803 to Ralph Wardle in 1951. Events in the life of the heroine. illegitimate children. . Godwin believed. that these memoirs would improve humankind: “There are not many individuals with whose character the public welfare and improvement are more intimately connected. How could Godwin believe that the pubic would find “improving” his Memoirs. Sibella 116 . and attempts at suicide? One way to begin to answer this question is to read Godwin’s Memoirs in conjunction with Eliza Fenwick’s novel Secresy published three years earlier in 1795. Roscoe sees Wollstonecraft as “mourn’d by Godwin with a heart of stone. For exposing the “sacred engagement.Chapter 5 Sacred Secrets: Psychological Depth as Feminist Critique In his 1798 biography of his deceased wife.” Godwin was considered an unfeeling husband by friends such as Robert Southey and William Roscoe: Southey accuses Godwin of “stripping his dead wife naked”. especially given that the tale they tell is one of broken vows. Even more extraordinary. Sibella Valmont. strikingly resemble events in Wollstonecraft’s life. .”205 the birth of Wollstonecraft’s daughter Fanny testifying to her faith in its endurance even though the connection had not been ratified by church or state in an official wedding ceremony.’”206 Godwin was judged “insane” by Richard Polwhele in The Unsex’d Females (1798). William Godwin discussed Wollstonecraft’s extra-marital connection with Gilbert Imlay as “an engagement . as he says in his preface to the first edition. Mary Wollstonecraft. of the most sacred nature. and Wollstonecraft’s private Letters to Imlay which he published the same year. than the author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” (204).

However. part of his belief that the public will find Wollstonecraft’s life “improving” is based on his sense that Fenwick’s representation of Sibella’s life represents and instills virtue. There is even a scene in which Sibella jumps into a moat. discovered his infidelities. It’s not quite clear how much Fenwick and other London radicals knew about this relationship. similarly becomes impregnated. Fenwick was a friend of Wollstonecraft. and it is a question that still haunts Romantic 117 . wrote what sometimes sound like desperate letters attempting to get Imlay to honor the sacred nature of their engagement. Even if Secresy is not a veiled biography of Wollstonecraft. A careful analysis of the novel reveals why Godwin thought so admirable any depiction he might make of Wollstonecraft as undertaking a secret engagement. and is similarly betrayed. even if Fenwick did not write the novel with Wollstonecraft in mind. attempting to ratify it. went to Norway on business for Imlay.209 the intertextuality is complicated: Fenwick’s novel was published in the same year that Wollstonecraft moved from Paris to London. and twice attempted suicide. nor when.similarly engages in a “sacred union” with her beloved Clement. close enough to her and to Godwin that Fenwick took care of Mary Godwin (the future Mary Shelley) for the first ten days after Wollstonecraft’s death. That is. resembling perhaps Wollstonecraft’s suicidal leap into the Thames. and adhering to it even to the point of suicide. Godwin certainly could have remembered Fenwick’s Secresy while writing the Memoirs. Though people often suggest that Sibella is modeled on Wollstonecraft. The question posed by Fenwick’s Secresy and Godwin’s Memoirs about marriage is not simply a personal one but a political one. the novel clearly delineates what was at stake politically during the early Romantic period in the notion of a secret engagement.

made proclamations. to Sibella. enacting a law (as happened in France) that provides an alternative to the laws upheld by Parliament and the monarchy? This was the central question of the Sedition trials in Scotland in 1793. The institution of marriage provides a test case for seizing political power through secret agreements: if a vow or oath is enacted secretly. Not anyone can christen a ship and effectively name it — only one who is “authorized” by society to do so has that power. if a person says. stated the will of a popular front: were those statements declarative. The question as to what makes a performative effective was hugely important during the revolutionary period when the National Assembly in France and the several conventions on British electoral reform. as it is in clandestine marriages. the legal status of which were open to debate. Goodwin 300-301)? Radical politics calls into question the connection between publicity and ratification. or were thy performative.” an alternative law (see A.210 The difference between the two alternatives depends upon the intent of the convention attendees and the public that supports them: are they publicly expressing grievances or privately enacting. L. and the documents and resolutions produced by the societies which ran them. But crucially. what makes it inviolable — “sacred”? I will show that. but marriage was to them both a profoundly political issue. Resolutions formulated at these conventions. Marriage is the central theme in Fenwick’s novel and Godwin’s memoir. the efficacy of naming a ship depends upon social arrangements. J. Austin describes the operation of performatives: if a person says.” he or she is married. via “Secret Committees. the ill- 118 .philosophy and literary theory. “I christen this ship the Thelma. “I do.” the ship is so named. designed to inform members of Parliament of the people’s desire and thereby influence members of Parliament in their decision-making process. and the Treason Trials in London of 1794. held in Scotland and England.

fated heroine of Fenwick’s Secresy. along with Wollstonecraft’s Letters to Imlay. expose all their actions. Godwin believed that. an insistence crucial to the self-understanding of the radical reform movement. the personal experience of intense psychological suffering.” we defuse the political radicalism latent in each text. he could. as Fenwick had done. revealing sacred secrets for the sake of radical reform. insist on the legitimacy and legality of promises performed in private. But personal psychological distress over loss of a loved one and resistance to the desecration of community ties by politics are. and call upon the universe to judge them” (256). two sides of the same coin. with less fear. melancholia and suicide. As I will show here. and to the extent that we read Secresy as a novel only about “love. Not only. as only about Wollstonecraft’s personal life. I will argue. the subject of Godwin’s Romantic biography. is one way — albeit a very costly one — of enacting political reform within the context of a community that speaks too corrupt a language to ratify ties that bind. Locke’s ideas delineated in chapter 1 propose a specific model for political radicalism that is distinctively melancholic. that needed. Romantic biography thrusts the personal into the realm of the political. and Wollstonecraft. secret performatives were as binding as the virtue of their participants made them. To the extent that we read Godwin’s Memoirs. by portraying Wollstonecraft’s virtuous tenacity to her connections. this chapter will show. Critics usually account for Godwin’s equanimity about divulging all the details of Wollstonecraft’s life by his obliviousness to his reading public’s sensibilities. Romantic Biography: Texts Godwin seemed not to expect the outrage over Wollstonecraft’s morality generated by his publication of the Memoirs and her private letters: “Never did there exist a human being. As Nicola Trott 119 .

There is a stark contrast between Godwin’s own very self-assured sense that he knows how to “improve the public” and his critics’ belief in his complete incapacity to effectively connect with other human beings. What we have here are two curiously self-aggrandizing and yet bumbling social misfits.puts it. and Coleridge commented that every one of Godwin’s writings as always contained “some one.211 “[M]y conduct.”212 Wollstonecraft appears to have the same problem as Godwin does: she is convinced of her own virtue and that virtue’s attractiveness to others. And Amy Rambow points to similar comments made by his contemporaries. These letters attempt to convince Gilbert Imlay to reunite with her. . Southey and Coleridge. Critics attack Wollstonecraft simultaneously for her “arrogance” and for her ineffectuality in preserving her relationship with Imlay. After describing their stormy first encounter. 120 . “has always been governed by the strictest principles of justice and truth. imprudent suicidal passage” (Rambow 24-5). in commenting on the passage quoted above. his very obtuseness rather moving” (34). you must. That stark contrast between philosophical self-assuredness and social ineptitude reappears in critics’ estimates of Mary Wollstonecraft’s life as revealed in Godwin’s Memoirs as well as in her Letters to Imlay which Godwin published as part of her Posthumous Works. . she is “obtuse” about the actual reception of such declarations of virtue. outrageously. You do. ‘come kick me!’” Southey said in a letter to Coleridge. “normal [social] behavior — by eighteenth-century standards — was never to be their forte” (10). respect me — and you will be sorry to forfeit my esteem. “‘Godwin is always exposing himself in a posture which says.” says Wollstonecraft in a letter to Imlay. . Richard Holmes says of Wollstonecraft and Godwin. “Godwin’s trustfulness is awe-inspiring.

Eilenberg points out. grants Wollstonecraft’s writing more power than perhaps any letters could possibly have. After all. convinced of her own moral superiority. forgotten the old feminist adage that it is easiest to blame victims.” Todd reprimands Wollstonecraft because she fails to make use of more conventional. she might have been able “to write the letters that . brought her lover back to her” (14). Though Todd and Eilenberg complain a lot about Wollstonecraft’s “self-pity. as she did in revising her letters to Imlay for publication as A Short Residence in Sweden. feminine means of seduction for recapturing Imlay’s love. Denmark. Both Eilenberg and Todd seem to have. “The analysis was not calculated to rein in an erring lover. .Eilenberg makes the (astounding) claim that. What is astounding to me about the claim is that it ignores who Imlay was (a philanderer to the point of pathology). she instructs Imlay to strive for rational virtue. for the inefficacy of — her whining plaintiveness in — her letters to Imlay. Godwin confesses in the Memoirs that it was reading A Short Residence which made him fall in love with Wollstonecraft (249). and Norway. and angrily exacts vengeance from Wollstonecraft for what is inexplicably seen as her failure to get Imlay to settle down! Eilenberg clearly takes her cue from Todd who seems furious with Wollstonecraft for not being better able to win Imlay back. in the case of Wollstonecraft. . “That she was inevitably alienating her lover with criticism meant less to her than selfjustification” (331). 121 . had Wollstonecraft softened her selfpresentation. Todd attacks Wollstonecraft because.”213 it is perhaps an indirect (and certainly unintentional) tribute that they do not see her as a victim but rather as having the power to determine the outcome of her affair with Imlay through the power of her prose. although Eilenberg in general faults Godwin for having an idiosyncratic sensibility (13-14). especially when they are abandoned and abused women.

In discussing the texts of Godwin’s Memoirs and Wollstonecraft’s Letters to Imlay. . This narrative reconciles contradictions apparent in each text: Wollstonecraft’s principles as opposed to her feelings. critics have been extraordinarily concerned with analyzing their performative power as speech acts. of which Godwin’s Memoirs is one founding instance. or were they trying to do something else? What if. we took seriously Godwin’s claim that public exposure of Wollstonecraft’s actions in both the 122 . [is] an effect produced by . difficulties with image management” (153). . instead of adhering to the dominant critical tradition which interprets these acts as failures that reveal their authors’ psychological problems. . This narrative of inner depth explains away the stark contrast discussed above between genial thinker and uncongenial socialite apparently constitutive of both Wollstonecraft’s and Godwin’s personalities. Godwin’s adulation of Wollstonecraft as opposed to his unconscious hostility towards her. both fail to represent Wollstonecraft as admirable to their respective audiences (the public and Imlay). of creating “round characters” in novels. . in private letters. perhaps for her dying. in other words. That both of these acts failed to portray Wollstonecraft as admirable is explained by critics through a narrative of inner depth. did Godwin and Wollstonecraft herself. “Profundity of character . during the Romantic period.214 As Deirdre Lynch puts it in describing the achievement. Whether provoking a true assessment of their personalities or not.” we might ask. As seductive as are those interpretations that give us glimpses into a person’s “inner world. Godwin’s misjudgment of how his audience would see Wollstonecraft upon reading his Memoirs and Wollstonecraft’s similar incomprehension of the impact of her letters on Imlay have been perceived as personal failures. it is precisely this sense of contradiction betokening personal failure which gives depth to the personalities populating Romantic biography.

. Todd attacks Wollstonecraft for personally failing to charm Imlay back into her domestic fold: Had she not scorned the literature of passionate women and the conduct-book manuals with their pragmatic sexual politics. and it is in the 123 . she would have learnt that. especially an initiatory or pursuing one. nor need each point of view be mutually exclusive. in keeping with her explicitly articulated principles in the second Vindication. will not catch a man. of course.”215 Her infamous answer to Rousseau’s call to be alluring could just as easily constitute her answer to Todd: “What nonsense!” (26). The first Vindication she wrote was. (313) Anyone who has read Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman will see immediately in this passage that Todd is recommending some of the same strategems for creating sexual desire as appear in Rousseau’s fantasy of the natural woman. in the culture as it existed. frankness and judicious evaluation of a lover’s character do not attract the straying male and that intensity of affection. that she should be . made a coquettish slave in order to render her a more alluring object of desire. Vindication of the Rights of Man. pace Todd.Memoirs and the Letters is “more than intimately connected” with “public welfare”? What if instead of failing to please their audiences by speaking in conventional pieties. Godwin and Wollstonecraft refused to do so for political reasons? Passing in theoretical perspective from the personal to the political is not as difficult as it might sound in the abstract. For example. feel herself independent. It is very easy to believe. that Wollstonecraft did not fail to attract Imlay but rather that she refused to do so using this system of gallantry. . for a moment. which Wollstonecraft summarizes: “Rousseau declares that a woman should never.

of course. to Burke’s assertion of the necessity of obedience to paternal power in his Reflections on the Revolution in France and Wollstonecraft’s attack on such obedience in 124 .218 Just as laws did not have to be enacted in California calling “English” the official language until other languages threatened to usurp its hegemony — just so. The second . Some [researchers have gone so far as] claiming that ‘regular marriage in the London of the first half of the eighteenth century was a minority practice. . as clandestine marriages performed within the Fleet prison or its rules were known.contexts of radical and sexual politics that the Memoirs and Wollstonecraft’s private letters must be understood. .000 marriages in London between 1694 and 1754 -.’”217 Noticing that. Hardwicke’s Marriage Act. . . .and those were only the ones recorded. Paternal authority in the family was. Marriage: How is it a Political Act? Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act.000 and 300. insisting on the determining power of parental consent did not have to be enacted until the moment when that power was waning. without the consent of the bride’s father . . from the publication of Filmer’s Patriarcha in 1680. . . outlaws clandestine marriage. . accounted for between 200. . the fashion for Fleet marriages “spread upwards into fashionable society. the central political allegory mustered to defend and attack monarchy. as the century progressed. clandestine marriages were extraordinarily popular during the eighteenth century: “We now know that ‘Fleet’ marriages.’”216 As Bridget Hill argues.” Hill concludes that the Act was singularly unsuccessful in doing away with clandestine marriages. . enacted by Parliament in 1754 and not repealed until 1823. defined early in Ecclesiastical law as those “‘kinds of marriage [that] are called ‘secret’: the first is one concluded privately and without witnesses. .

as Church law fully recognized: “The reason why the holy Church forbids secret marriages is this: . paternal and governmental authority are connected in much more than an allegorical way. 349). Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act attempted to exert control through insisting that only legal marriages were valid: the “remedy” to loss of control was “publicity” (450). Lord Valmont proves himself to be a tyrant. 104. . particularly financial. 342.” (quoted in Howard 348). clandestine marriages were illegal but not void (Hill 203). It was in fact not at all lost on the eighteenth-century British people that clandestine marriages were to be preferred as a way of preventing government intervention in the wedded couple’s affairs. then. according to his own principles. exacting unreasoned submission. oblivious to strictures placed on them by legal fiat. . Before 1754. Women especially stood to benefit since they lost legal status and all control of their own property upon marrying. For the people. .Vindication of the Rights of Men (1790). And Fenwick’s Secresy is in large part a diatribe against the evils of blind obedience to paternal power: in deciding to raise Clement Montgomery and Sibella Valmont as a social experiment. But in the act of marriage. For the church cannot pass judgment on secrets . 123-124. eighteenth-century marriages were primarily enacted privately via custom. . . Hardwicke’s Act attempts to collapse the difference between the two:219 clearly the government was frantically trying to prevent the people from instituting and living by their own laws. but kept that status and control if no court could prove them married (Hill 204. . the church has no means to prevent the separation [of the wedded pair] even when in truth a marriage exists. 305. . and the cause of their “ruin” (55. . 206). and were a threat to the government insofar as the people’s adherence to customary rather than monarchical or Parliamentary law threatened the government 125 . As Howard points out.

In fact. wrote that.”221 During the eighteenth century. but it was not by any means so disreputable . “and little or no property was involved. the more sexually repressed a society or community. a woman’s loss of virginity was condoned in the practice of “bundling. . Writing towards the end of his life.” Hill says. the attitude to pre-marital chastity was far more tolerant” (180). . governmentally-regulated affair. one way it had of distinguishing itself both from the lower orders and from aristocrats who practiced the “French” version of marriage in which each partner blithely ignored the other’s infidelities (Secresy 293. that the proper reception of Godwin’s text thus requires our environment. as it is now. among London tradesmen’s daughters. was common. Grundy. 293 n. The “virtue” of pre-marital chastity was one of the identityconstituting values of an emerging middle class. . imagining that the further one goes back in history.” parentaland community.220 For the upper classes — as Howard points out. Francis Place. But it is crucial to abandon any kind of “progress” narrative about sexual liberation. at the end of the eighteenth century. . 1) — marriage à la its foundations. “want of chastity . Goodwin 364) and was a friend of the Fenwicks.promoted premarital sex to determine whether a couple was sexually compatible222 but also fertile: “If after a considerable period of courtship the woman failed to 126 . the financial situation of being poor actually allowed greater sexual freedom: “Where there was no question of an inheritance. a radical who was politically prominent in the London Corresponding Society during 1795 (A. the sexual revolution having liberated us from sexual repression (Rambow 54). Many critics presume that what scandalized early nineteenth-century political conservatives about the way that the Memoirs frankly depicted Wollstonecraft’s connection with Imlay as involving sex out of wedlock and an illegitimate child. the real target of Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act — marriage was a public.

According to customary law. the ideological work of characterizing radical politics as “oversexed” was one way of excluding it from the hegemonic (see Trott). .become pregnant.2 percent of first baptisms followed within 8 ½ months of marriage. derived from ecclesiastical practice. and Wollstonecraft’s letters which represent radical views of their time. in the mining community in Camborne in Cornwall in the period 1778-1797. Howard 349).374-5). the definition of “virtue” came to include chastity by the time that virtue became the defining attribute of the hegemonic middle class. what’s threatening about this counter-definition is not its liberal attitude toward sexuality so much as the politics that goes along with it. Fenwick’s Secresy and Godwin’s Memoirs both attempt to distinguish “virtue” from aristocratic notions of “honor. all that was necessary was simply “spousal. 45. the couple concluded that they were not meant for each other and the courtship was ended” (Hill 182-183.223 True. Widespread premarital pregnancy224 suggests that the people placed more faith in secret spousals as constitutive of marriage than they did in the legal system. for those who ignored it). . Moreover. biography. any actual “nuptial” or marriage ceremony was unnecessary (Emsley 478-9. In other words. But a counter-definition of virtue that included sexual freedom was proposed by this novel.” the consent or promise to marry. during the period of the law’s enactment. . Such a 127 . In many areas the pregnancy of brides seems to have been assumed. [F]or example. Howard I. for a clandestine marriage before Lord Hardwicke’s Act (and.” and are therefore engaged in the ideological work of creating a middle-class identity. According to Hill.

The National Assembly in France passed resolutions. 4) betting. but what made those resolutions into a new legal structure for government was the fact that people behaved as if they were law. The AntiJacobin’s listing in its index of “Prostitute — see Mary Wollstonecraft” (quoted in Trott 35) needs to be taken in this context. Performatives: Naming and Marrying The political scene of the 1790s was dominated by groups of people asserting their own performative power. as in christening a child or a ship. Pierre Bourdieu accuses Austin.”225 The bride who was not a virgin therefore represents a woman who lives according to rules that are created and enforced by the people around her rather than enacted by Parliament.226 but it is hard to see Austin’s view as anything but socio-political.228 128 . What makes the Wollstonecraft of Godwin’s Memoirs and of her own Letters to Imlay so scandalous to political conservatives is her desire to enter into a secret engagement that effectively declares herself and her community more competent to watch over her own interests than is the state.227 The christening of a ship is a performance that “misfires” if the person who breaks the bottle and utters the name is not authorized to do so by the audience. as the founder of speech act theory. 2) the act of naming. of thinking about performatives in solely linguistic rather than political terms.high level of pre-nuptial pregnancy “probably depended on strong community sanctions against desertion. as in a will. Revolution might be defined as the sudden acquisition of the authority to name and enact. 3) bequeathing. Austin’s four paradigmatic instances of the performative speech acts are 1) saying “I do” in a marriage ceremony.

They were enacted shortly after a “monster meeting” held on 12 November. The performative misfires. the intruder is led away by police and another champaign bottle quickly procured. fear that the power of associations such as the London Corresponding Society extended beyond lobbying for electoral reform motivated the Treason trials of 1794 — in which. the police take his side and turn against the governor -. uttering the name. Goodwin 395). and John Thelwall were acquitted. It was.”230 But how exactly does that action work? In December 1795. in which. under sentences of 14-years transportation. thanks partly to Godwin’s help. the ship is not named. and certainly as revolutionary.229 Again. In the case of performing any law by reiterating it. a crowd of over 100.It was precisely out of fear of such legal bodies that the government tried to convict the leaders of the “British Convention” in Scotland of sedition in 1793. Given the Reign of Terror in France. the government feared “direct popular action. But what if. of course. the performative act “is not achieved” (16). John Horne Tooke. 1795. Why? Austin points out that. if an unauthorized person christens a ship. taking the performance as authoritative confers authority 129 .as might happen in a revolution. Goodwin 392). as soon as the governor arrives.000 people reasserted “‘the constitutional right of Resistance to Oppression’” (quoted in A. Parliament first asserted that right during the debates that culminated in the Glorious Revolution (A. Parliament enacted the “Two Acts” or “Gagging Acts” that restricted large gatherings. instead of leading the intruder away. and insanely pretending to do the governor’s job: breaking the bottle. One can imagine an insane person strolling onto the scene where a christening will take place. led by the popular societies. Thomas Hardy. but the repetition of this constitutional right in 1795 is even more so because of who is speaking. as in the case of christening a ship. possible to see such Parliamentary action as treasonous.

232 Or. are the people hoping to inspire Parliament with enough “respect” for them that ministers will take their needs and wishes seriously?233 The passage of resolutions by reform societies. Such authority is made explicit in a comment such as that made by Chairman Binns at the 26 October “Copenhagen meeting: “‘when the voice of a united people [goes] forth. although taking place in these huge public forums. attempts “to intimidate or overawe . the difference being (according to scholastic debates) the verbal one 130 .upon the performer. . reasserting their constitutional rights. were “private” in the sense that there was no legally pre-established means for the people to address Parliament. they are implicitly claiming the authority to arbitrate constitutional affairs. did the people intend to usurp Parliament or persuade it in “privately. . conversely.234 would allege that he or she had only promised to marry in the future.” that constitute treason. the Treasonable Practices Bill. Parliament . and thus de facto married pair. it was [Parliament’s] duty to attend to it’ or incur the guilt of high treason against the people”. by speech or writing. Judge Eyre and Godwin tussle over the question as to whether resolutions of the London Corresponding Society are designed to “overawe” (Eyre) or “awe” Parliament (Godwin). During the 1794 Treason trials. . If the people presume to voice a constitutional right. resembles the question that arises out of clandestine marriages in which there are no witnesses but the couple themselves. it is precisely such performative actions. This question of treason.. as opposed to consenting to marry now. it is only because such a people is sovereign.” as it were.231 if one can commit treason against a people. an authority that government doesn’t want them to have. . Sometimes one member of a betrothed. Are the people claiming to be a legislative body whose will Parliament must obey? According to one of the Two Acts. viz.

who might be considered the Austin of the late Tudor period because he wrote on two of Austin’s performatives. Sibella answers. One only posits that something other than the verbal act itself renders that act valid in the midst of widespread hypocrisy. According to Austin. enacted insincerely (16-17): “an excess of profundity. wrote a treatise defining effectual spousals that was published — not during his lifetime. we are to regard not their Words.”235 Henry Swinburne. not the formality of Phrase. that is. “Oh! how ill do you appreciate [Clement’s] soul. (62) Swinburne’s commentary might be taken as Sibella’s and Wollstonecraft’s mantras when they contracted their secret. “paves the way for immodality” (10).between “I will” and “I do.236 Swinburne insists that people may not be aware of the distinction between “I will” and “I do”: And therefore. there was a huge rise in the number of children born out of wedlock (see note 18). at the beginning of the eighteenth century. but the inward Harmony or Agreement of their Hearts.” he says. which mean uprightly. people only begin to postulate that a verbal performance is accompanied by “an inward and spiritual act” when there is a good chance that customary ritual forms will be abused. marriage and wills. in two editions. Clement. not the outward sound of their Lips. or rather solemnity. undivested of her sway by any outward form or circumstance” (248). questions the “uprightness” of Sibella’s “secret” husband. sacred engagements. Caroline Ashburn. which cannot speak more cunningly. since it is the very Consent of Mind only which maketh Matrimony. but later. wherein the image of Sibella lives immoveably. precisely when. but their Intents. according to Lawrence Stone. when “a man’s word” isn’t “his bond. but the drift of their Determination. and eternally. When her epistolary companion.” 131 .

the printed Anglican Marriage Ceremony tells us. harbors secrets about why that couple cannot utter “I will. shows that customary spousals were not in fact at all secure.-A5r. “speaking unto the persons that shall be married.237 Secrets A performative word doesn’t work. For be ye well assured.” says the Priest. Speech acts gain and lose performative power based on the interpretive contexts of their audience. for instance) paves the way for formulating the belief in a mental act that precedes. neither is their Matrimony lawful. beginning with the couple themselves. if anyone.” and “With this Ring I thee wed” (A4r. From 1680 to 1800. and “deeper” than uttering what has become a merely verbal form.” as ye will answer at the dreadful day of judgement when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed. that so many as are coupled together otherwise than God’s Word doth allow are not joined together by God.” “I take thee. Just as the number of legitimated prenuptial pregnancies 132 . Psychological depth is born out of widespread political corruption. why ye may not be lawfully joined together in Matrimony.238 But not all secret immodalities can be attributed to personal hypocrisy. is independent of. the large number of illegitimate births (see note 18). that if either of you know any impediment. ye do now confess it.) and really mean what they say: “I Require and charge you both.Immodality or the abuse of ceremonial forms (bigamy. in contrast to the number of “bridechildren” who eventually were legitimated through marriage (see note 30).

.attests to the presence of “strong community sanctions against desertion. or not make. [S]hall there be no more marriages?”240 To the portion of the Anglican marriage ceremony in which the Priest says. Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner. and. among all the things he makes and loves. the wedding guest is made into “A sadder and a wiser man. . He sequesters them both in Valmont Castle. so that they too ‘[turn] from the bridegroom’s door.” and that the Mariner’s mode of telling his tale is by “button-holing WeddingGuests. first published the same year as Godwin’s Memoirs and during Coleridge’s politically radical period. unknown to himself. not love. Fenwick’s Secresy makes very clear what’s rotten in England that renders the witnessing of marriages ineffective. beginning with Lord Valmont’s designs in raising Sibella Valmont and Clement Montgomery. without telling them.). . why they may not lawfully be joined together.’” Stanley Cavell asks “Why? . . the latter. and leaving them stunned. .”239 Pointing out that “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” ends with “all” people making “prayers” that are “sweeter than the marriage feast. again. unknown to herself. surrounded by a moat. until. marriages? . his niece.” as John Rule points out. preferably next of kin. . “if any many can shew just cause. then. Coleridge’s poem answers that there is just cause. attempting to give Sibella no education at all so that she will completely 133 . . and that it has to do with the integrity of the witnesses or audience to the wedding ceremony. raises them to be husband and wife. the number of illegitimate births attests to the breakdown of those sanctions. the former being. that is. Why is the marriage deserted . The novel is full of secrets. or else hereafter for ever hold his peace” (A3r. Valmont’s illegitimate son. ? Does God. begins by interrupting a marriage ceremony: it cannot be effectively witnessed by the stunned wedding guest until the mariner’s story is told. let him now speak.

as is discovered by Arthur Murden. an unusually virtuous aristocrat who became virtuous under the influence of a poor Indian woman. social ills can be cured. First. Secresy makes use of the metaphorical equation in contemporary political discourses between father and monarch (or oligarches) in order to argue against maintaining the obedience of the lower orders through ignorance. attacks Valmont’s use of secrecy as illegitimate in ways the clearly echo Godwin’s Political Justice (349).241 Valmont educates Clement. But the novel does more than present the radical view of education. and attempting to instill in Clement Valmont’s own loathing for aristocratic society. a monument to true repentance. This ruin is an edifice that had been built by monks who were commissioned by “a sinful lord. once all human beings are well-educated enough to think rationally. Clement’s tutor secretly educates Sibella as well. It is by keeping secrets. She is the most virtuous character in the novel because educated in rational principles without ever having had contact with the corrupt aristocratic society into which Clement is suddenly thrown by Lord Valmont so that he can determine the effects of his “experiment” in child rearing. Clearly. he attempts to get them to do exactly as he wishes. luckily. London during “the season” and courtly life in general. then. to fast and pray for his soul alone in this hermitage until they died of hunger.submit to her husband.242 The full title of the novel is Secresy. then. Caroline Ashburn. But this building. a secret bridge concealed just below the waters of the moat surrounding Valmont 134 . Fenwick takes part in the radical circle in London who believe that. daughter of a Nabob and the other heroine of the tale. turned penitent” (260). another atypically virtuous aristocrat who falls in love with Sibella. that Valmont exercises his “tyranny” over his “children”: by telling them only what he wants them to know. or. the Ruin on the Rock. turns out to be just an empty form. When writing this novel.

and hermitages — that enact nobility (in the sense of honor and virtue) for the sake of disguising a deep corruption hidden secretly beneath them. It is important to notice first that Sibella’s statement provides a formula for psychological depth as constructed in Romantic biography and in the realistic novel that begins with Edgeworth. of “Keep my secret and I’ll keep yours” (293). Such marriages were governed by the precept. then surely secrecy validates a performative act: if the grand display of uniting two souls in fact separates them. public wedding ceremonies that joined lords and ladies united them only in appearance. “his words wore one form. Just so in the case of aristocratic marriage: it is a form that hides only corruption. castles.” a “hollow” or “insincere. manors. The large.castle had been built by “the saintly contrivance of the starving monks” (263) — they lived for many years despite appearing to fast. moats. Such a context renders secrecy incredibly problematic. by shared knowledge of each partner’s infidelities.” Sibella says. Second. getting food sent into them over the moat. the ruin represents visible forms — titles.” an “unconsummated” performative (15-16): about Murden’s “secresy. But secrecy is double-barreled in the context of aristocratic corruption. beneath material conditions but also 135 . Burney. If publicity provides false witness. when “forms and ceremonies” are corrupted into meaning their opposite. In that context. as Secresy articulates it. priestly robes. Allegorically. then secret marriage should unite. and his intentions another” (105-106). and Austin: one has to search beneath appearances. Public performance of a bond actually disproves its existence. and the first time we encounter it. the ruin contains in it a trap door leading to a secret passage that allows “secret communication with some apartment in the castle” (264). meaning. The word “secresy” in its titular form is used only eight times throughout the novel. it signifies what Austin calls “an abuse of.

However. and his words. Clement writes to Murden. It turns out that Murden is true. However. in this case. Sibella’s refusal of public forms attests to her true sincerity in espousing Clement. secrecy is the means of corrupting those forms. Later. showing that he no longer regards their spousal and consummation as binding.beneath all the words used to describe and locate her. “I will make her my wife” (200).” recognizing the legitimacy of the bond (154). Insofar as public forms for enacting bonds are corrupted. refusing to use them — being secret — is a way of performing the purity of one’s own bond: “The vow of the heart is of sacred dignity.” Sibella writes to Caroline after. he writes to Murden again. his request for secrecy. is unaware. Fenwick emphasizes the meaning of this slight verbal difference in Murden’s letter back to Clement: 136 . immediately following Clement’s and Sibella’s spousals and consummation. secrecy is the means by which public forms have become corrupted in the first place. but not Clement. As Caroline says in speaking about fashionable London society. “insincerity” — the immodality that renders any performative ineffective — is “the grand cement which binds our intercourse with each other” (167). So. “I am her husband. “Forms and ceremonies seem too trifling for its nature” (250). according to the dictates of her own will. having secretly married Clement. is only reactive against an environment in which he cannot act nobly because it has been contaminated by others (in this case. At first. by Valmont’s unconscionable seclusion and deception of Sibella). undertaken at her demand. as the formula for “French” or aristocratic marriage enunciated by the novel makes clear. to find a character’s true nature. Sibella’s use of it performs a meaning of which she. eschewing corrupted public forms is a way of maintaining virtue.

He has learned the aristocratic mode in which any performance of secrecy — “Guard[ing]” a secret. he continues to keep Clement in the dark about his plans and sends him back to London to find a profession. . . via secrecy. 207. Valmont’s “grand secret” is that Sibella is his niece. Sibella asks Clement to secretly espouse and consummate their marriage to prevent Valmont from giving her hand in marriage elsewhere. as the allegory of the ruin makes clear. 303. [T]here are moments when I hate thee heartily. 195. . or “Be[ing] secret” (158. 198-199. 292) — allows indulging in “secret vice” (134. “Keeping” it. since I read thy letter. and what caused their ruin (325. 336). as can be seen in Filmar’s relationship to Laundry in the novel. have I repeated those words — those despicable words! . The corruption of public forms itself has occurred. Each Lord or Lady’s knowledge of another’s “secret vice” is “the grand cement” binding members of aristocratic society to each other.” — How often. and that he ultimately intends to marry her to Clement in order to legitimately establish his illegitimate son. 158).“Thou wilt make her thy wife. in the sense in which the word is used for the fifth and seventh times in the novel: it is what Valmont practiced on Clement and Sibella. giving both him and Sibella the impression that she will be forced to marry someone else. and has in fact had an affair with a French woman. 304).” — Good God what an implication! And is her claim yet to be enforced! — “I will make her my wife. (243). After Valmont finds Clement’s less-than-genuine rejection of the aristocratic high life unconvincing. that she has a huge marriage portion (174. Valmont causes their ruin because Sibella becomes pregnant from consummating the clandestine 137 . Clement has been living the life of an aristocrat in Paris and London.

Sibella “marries”. in doing the same. convinced that he and Sibella are penniless except for whatever he can make in a profession. . those sentiments echo Godwin’s in his Memoirs of the Author of the Vindication of the Rights of Woman: “Certainly nothing can be . As Emsley points out. Ashburn]. To perform anything secretly transforms it from the sacred into the profane. now. popular form of marriage and public. I am married [to Mrs. that is. Madam. but I cannot now give you any protection. aristocratic form clash in a heart-wrenching scene. for I — I am. and Clement. it could remain secret. . publicly marries Caroline’s wealthy mother. For Clement and his social context. . as to require the overflowing of the soul to wait upon a ceremony” and “to blow a trumpet before” that 138 . Miss Valmont. needing no public marriage ceremony to ratify it: “The vow of the heart is of sacred dignity. Ashburn who epitomizes the high society of London articulates what the context of a community cemented together in hypocrisy does to such secret rites: “Nay. in her mind. seven months pregnant. . What man of taste marries a woman after an affair with her?” Performing secretly. so contrary to the genuine march of sentiment. . rushes to London to be with her Clement: [Clement:] “I am sorry. Clement has “an affair” — the change in the meaning of a verbal performance from marriage to affair occurring solely based on the virtue of the witnesses.” [Sibella:] “Are we not both married [to each other]?” Mrs. indeed — Yes. whatever is secret just is vicious. The Sacred Her marriage to Clement is so sacred to Sibella that. Forms and ceremonies seem too trifling for its nature” (250). The clandestine. your are childish .marriage. in which Sibella.

A virtuous “community” with “strong sanctions” against immodality. Again. would have honored secret spousals. nor publish her letters about that union.” It is tempting to turn to Sibella. unsophisticated heart. determine the meaning of what is said as much as the intention of the speaker. radical 139 . he was simply — as Mrs. In failing to grasp how his readership would interpret The Memoirs and Letters to Imlay. an aristocratic society converts secret marriage into “an affair. and the yearns of — yes. converting Sibella’s child into a legitimate bride-child and Clement’s public nuptials into bigamy.which “is of all things most sacredly private. it is tempting to say that Godwin should have known as much. one must be speaking to somebody. Context. and Wollstonecraft and remind them that the latter is the society in which they live as do Todd and Eilenberg: grow up! Though he believes that he reveals Wollstonecraft’s Sibella-like virtue in describing her attachment to Imlay. I will say it. (410). witnesses. childhood has. however. It is impossible to speak a private language. without evoking an act of renaming on the part of The Anti-Jacobin: “prostitution” and heresy (for her attempts at suicide). Godwin cannot speak of Wollstonecraft’s secret union with Imlay. In contrast. answer the question driving this chapter: as a speech act. is his work a failure or refusal? At this moment in the history of British radicalism. a true.”243 Wollstonecraft’s posthumously published private letters to Imlay reveal her agreement with both Sibella and Godwin: My friend — my dearest friend — I feel my fate united to yours by the most sacred principles of my soul. Ashburn puts it to Sibella — “childish. of course. Even if one wishes to reject conventional forms. Godwin.” To say that Godwin’s work as Romantic biographer and editor is “childish” does not. to the point of death.

by the end of Secresy. since Clement has written to him about them (and has even enclosed a copy of Sibella’s letter asking him to marry her) — to be “sacred. 310). . Tyranny. no matter what Clement thinks about it. civil. 268. and two different ways of being secret. Sibella and Murden are conjoined by their own insistence on never relinquishing faith in “a sacred union” (250). and political rights.” such as are found among “the lower orders” in England and France now. the virtuous Murden takes Sibella’s secret vows to Clement — vows that he has in effect witnessed. In short. Just as the members of aristocratic society are “cemented together” in hypocrisy.” Wollstonecraft makes a claim about her capacity to enact reform despite social corruption. there is a difference between the “unsophisticated” “savages” of primitive society and the “sophisticated. in proclaiming herself to be someone with an “unsophisticated heart.244 And. aristocratic and virtuous. “Sophisticated” and “unsophisticated” are the terms that Wollstonecraft uses in An Historical and Moral View of the French Revolution to designate the difference between Clement and Murden. binding and irrevocable (246. in fact. equal. every sacred feeling. in effect. moral and divine. According to Wollstonecraft. she implies. generate two different kinds of societies. operating secretly (according to “policy”) creates these slaves who are indeed “cunning” and secretive: The deprivation of natural.” which is to say. people who. reduced the most cunning of the lower orders to practice fraud . And why? because the rich and poor were separated into bands of tyrants and slaves. In Fenwick’s Secresy. .” “degenerate slaves of tyrants. has been 140 . and the retaliation of slaves is always terrible.connotations.

Valmont’s power. as at variance with humanity. by a system of policy and jurisprudence as repugnant to reason. turn your thoughts back. . no! . he imagines.” she does so as a way of abjuring Clement to cease to witness Valmont’s power: Rivals in Sibella’s love! Oh. he gloats over what he has been able to do: it was in secret to receive Sibella into my arms. the man to whom. But force. When Clement writes to Murden of having sacralized his union with Sibella. “distinct in nature from that of the degenerate slaves of tyrants” (231). Ah. this elected of Mr.245 Fenwick illustrates the difference between the degenerate slave and the savage in contrasting Clement with Sibella.” Wollstonecraft says. Mr. (131) 141 . Valmont’s favour [i. (130) Clement’s “sophisticated” taste makes him enjoy secretly usurping power over Valmont and another. . placing on opposing pages their different understandings of their own secret acts of rebellion against Valmont.. Sibella will be given in marriage]. . Valmont.obliterated. “The ferocity of the savage is. . and find its impotence. To enjoy a glorious though secret triumph over this rival. It was to outplot Mr. . Clement. this chosen. and the dignity of man sullied.e. you say. nameless aristocratic pretender to Sibella’s hand: for him secrecy offers the secret pleasure of retaliation. Clement. When Sibella invites Clement to “Come to [her] apartments” from which he “shall go the transported confiding husband. .

but rather simply to render tyranny impotent. want vengeance? In other words. are all superior to your present conduct. Murden and Caroline are Sibella’s. What would constitute a sign that secrecy is being enacted differently. respect me — and you will be sorry to forfeit my esteem. and her “arrogance” in which she upbraids him for not behaving rationally. like Clement. unworthy of you? — Principles are sacred things — .Sibella — dubbed throughout the novel. or by their “slaves. You do.” victims of a tyrannical system who. . I believe. for the sake of virtuous rebellion. and your principles of action. “wild” (131). (436) 142 . I know that your mind. All of the “complaining” that recent biographers have found in Wollstonecraft’s Letters to Imlay. as an attempt to reform Imlay into a virtuous witness. your heart. — Ah! ask yourself if you have not condescended to employ a little address. a genuinely “romantic” unsophisticated woman like Wollstonecraft herself (Letters to Imlay 388) — does not use secrecy for revenge. I could almost say cunning. and “enthusiastic” (140). you must. than it is typically enacted by aristocrats who hypocritically ignore their own laws. what would adequately distinguish Sibella’s sacred principle from Clement’s secret vice? One way to make such a distinction is to find or create a community of virtuous witnesses. “romantic” (195). like herself. . as does the slave Clement. must be reread. . a Murden: I am stunned! — Your late conduct [infidelity] still appears to me a frightful dream.

but she must exorcize the secrecy (the “address. she 143 . Wollstonecraft describes her daughter as a sacred sign of her union with Imlay most movingly in Letter 24: I have been playing and laughing with the little girl so long. like Wollstonecraft. she looked so like you . that I cannot take up my pen to address you without emotion. 128). and so. (388) Children incarnate the sacred pledge of these unions.Wollstonecraft needs only a community of two to make her union last. “a fit audience though few” in publishing his Romantic biography. these fit readers would interpret Sibella’s and Wollstonecraft’s pregnancies as signs of the sacredness of their connections to Clement and Imlay. as a sign. making them more real and binding than the public enactment of a ceremony that is most often enacted insincerely. Sibella sees herself as “incorporate” with Clement (103. to incarnate it. and I began to think that there was something in the assertion of man and wife being one — for you seemed to pervade my whole frame. not as signs of illegitimacy and vice. and so. Sibella’s unborn baby miscarries the moment she discovers Clement’s treachery. every nerve seemed to vibrate to the touch. they are still ambiguous. and lending me the sympathetic tears you excited. . Like Murden. Pressing her to my bosom. Godwin believes that he can find or perhaps. But children can be illegitimate. The second way to demonstrate the sacredness of a secret union is to refuse to relinquish it under any circumstances. in one’s own body. create. that is. quickening the beat of my heart. . when she finds that he has violated their sacred vow. I could almost say cunning”) that Imlay employs in his practice of aristocratic marriage.

“‘Miss Valmont!’ exclaimed Murden. she cries. Melancholia and Truth The Lockean epistemology upon which radical liberal political theorists of the eighteenth century base their notions of reform and progress tends. to rewrite community as absolute communion: people only really understand each other when speaking. Murden and Sibella have decided that death only can overcome any breach in a sacred vow of love. that “[t]he sentiment in me is still sacred” (438). but has not been given his name. Most depressing about this novel is its suggestion that this community of the virtuous. Why? It will take the whole of the next section to provide one answer to this question. Sibella quickly becomes as incorporeal as she imagines herself to be by dying. suicide over the loss of Imlay certainly is an act testifying to Wollstonecraft’s belief that they were joined forever by their secret union. if they have identical ideas in mind. suggesting again what she says even in her final letter to him of farewell. Locke says. in anger. since she gave up “Valmont” upon marrying Clement. Sibella and Murden are “entombed together” (359). so that. ‘I own none!’” she says. “‘What am I? a shadow! A dream!’” (356). because of his treachery. ‘Give me not a name’ — cried Sibella. can only exist as dead: at the end of the novel. as has been shown in Chapter 1.becomes incorporeal. While belief that ideas can be taken 144 . “In tearing myself from you.” Wollstonecraft writes to Imlay. she were murdering him as much as killing herself. rather than that she merely slept with him for pleasure. for whom performatives are binding. when Sibella sees Murden after discovering Clement’s treachery. “Do you reproach me with living?” (356). Wollstonecraft’s suicide note for her second attempt insists that she is “the victim of your [Imlay’s] deviation from rectitude” (431) and it is as if. “it is my own heart I pierce” (437). Whatever else it is.

. So long as the varieties of mind shall remain. as Fenwick’s image of the tomb suggests. identity and alienation. Nothing can intellectually unite them short of equal capacity and identical perception. in the appreciation and acceptance of particular human forms of life. 246 The gap between mind and world that Cavell discusses is the one delineated in this chapter: the distinction between word and intention is the very gap that is posited upon the failure or “immodality” of performatives that betokens political corruption. . such a belief does in fact express a desire to escape. as has been delineated in Chapter 1. human ‘convention. In his perfect political system. as Cavell calls it. is closed . ‘alienated’ from) those shared forms of life . to escape (to remain a ‘stranger’ to. as Cavell points out. and thus from habitual social isolation from the words used to express them. insofar as the refusal of convention is based on its corruption.’ This implies that the sense of gap originates in an attempt. One reason for desiring such an estrangement is moral or intellectual heroism. is visible in Godwin’s Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and Wollstonecraft’s Letters to Imlay. . and. sustains the possibility of political critique. . the power of National Assemblies would be limited because A multitude of men after all our ingenuity [in devising their modes of interaction] will still remain no more than a multitude of men. like Locke in his political treatises. or wish. Godwin adopted the basic tenets of associationist psychology. such alienation has its costs. “[T]he gap between mind and world. 145 . used those tenets to justify democracy.” he says. . But. That the epistemology underlying eighteenth-century political radicalism requires.

While for Godwin the least tyrannical government is one that best preserves initiatives undertaken by “the endless variety of mind. All government corresponds in a certain degree to what the Greeks denominated a tyranny.” he does. . . . while in republics it preserves a greater portion of its activity . . . . . to reduce men to intellectual uniformity. taking the lead of the rest. . is not.247 And again: The ideas. . to act in many of the common affairs of life by a precise general rule. . the associations and the circumstances of each man are properly his own. . [I]n despotic countries mind is depressed by a uniform usurpation. like Locke.the force of society can be no otherwise. than by one man [or a majority of men] . . of evidence and 146 . . however different in their circumstances. . . . (3. posit an ultimate end to variety — and thus. . as in Houyhnhnm society — tyranny by “mind” itself: The objectors of the last chapter were partly in the right when they spoke of the endless variety of mind. Godwin is also tripped up by the notion that effective communication only occurs when people have the same ideas in mind. by brute force. The proper method for hastening the decay of error. like Locke.450) And yet. It would be absurd to say [as a result] that we are not capable of truth. but on the contrary by teaching every man to think for himself. and it is a pernicious system that would lead us to require all men.

Instead. though we shall every day become less erroneous. by correspondence to some actually existing thing rather than continually generated over again and anew through the play of social relations (language games). . we are progressively coming nearer to each other. performatives will not be enforced by community sanctions. Godwin insists. imagining this radically utopian society in which agreement between individuals comes from thinking for themselves requires that the meaning of words be secured. 307) -. be sacred. The only way that Godwin preserves differences among minds is by postulating that progress toward rational thinking will never be complete. so far as mind is in a state of improvement.agreement.”248 so that every mind which holds it in view is forced to consent to it. (outer) “force” will be replaced by (inner) “conviction”: the sheer use of “evidence” will replace persuasion. That is. communication is envisioned as absolute communion.all of the mechanisms by which the diversity of auditors or readers are taken into account. words must. in short. and agree completely with all other consenting minds. Indelibly tied to the ideas they represent. attention to (literary) form (3. Godwin’s Political Justice.450) For Godwin as for Locke. In the radically utopian communities imagined by “progress” in mutual understanding posited by Locke’s epistemology and. in effect. we shall always be erroneous. for them to become transubstantiated into immutable things. [B]y the doctrine of progressive improvement. In these respects. . at moments. rhetoric. for them to represent ideas that are identical in no matter how many minds is. “truth is irresistible.472-3. (3. 147 . . In his society. once and for all. oratory. For words to force identical convictions.

During one of their many separations for the sake — allegedly — of Imlay’s business. Imlay and Wollstonecraft met at “the barrier. Memoirs 240).249 Before she met Imlay. Melancholia consists in a refusal to give up that loving symbiosis even when the mother (or love-object) is gone. “bring back to me your barrier-face” (389). one can only put faith in the words themselves. Imlay’s performative “I do” may have taken physical rather than linguistic form. This was the physical token — like the words “I do” — that for Wollstonecraft ratified the “sacred nature” of this “affair of the heart” (Godwin. as 148 . is called in Wollstonecraft’s letters “the barrier girl” (370). Wollstonecraft had bouts with depression. her “melancholy” (243 n. many “days browned by care” (376) she says. turned out to be corrupt. but not in any socially conventional way. finding the “true meaning” of a word is a means for critiquing corrupt social practices. as Wollstonecraft puts it. The society of two into which Wollstonecraft entered. the daughter they conceived. Writing to him after. As Godwin says in a note to the Letters.” when the form of communication is a mother’s loving gaze. believing it to be as virtuous as Sibella and Murden’s. and Fanny. Wollstonecraft insists that he come back to her. One can imagine the completely loving face he presented to her at the rendezvous constituting the early part of their courtship. Godwin in his Memoirs describes Wollstonecraft’s “saturnine temper” (240). To take a face for a word is to regress back to the moment of “gathering passion from a mother’s eye. preferring instead to join the lost beloved in the grave: “the nuptials of suicide. Wollstonecraft doesn’t want a husband and father bound by duty. f).Again such a view is necessarily tied to reform. For one thing. For another. as became more and more visible to her during the course of writing her letters to Imlay.” a tollgate in the city walls of Paris. if the society that banters words about is corrupt.” as Julia Kristeva puts it.

also suggesting that. in the beginning. The images in her letters of separating from Imlay involve being cut or stabbed by a knife or spear. They are one flesh to Wollstonecraft if. Godwin says. Wollstonecraft had transferred the desire to be gazed at by a loving mother’s face from her dead mother to Imlay. that his love had helped her to abandon “the most melancholy views of life” and then asks him. and Wollstonecraft says directly to Imlay. in a letter. she is also at the same time angrily killing this man who has. mother and child: Uniting myself to you. they are one flesh as are. and it is in fact when she holds her own daughter Fanny in her arms that she “think[s] that there [is] something in the assertion of man and wife being one” (388): mother-daughter symbiosis evokes for her the “sacred nature” of her union with Imlay. lifted “the depression of her spirits (240. — On this tenderness and affection with what confidence did I rest! — but I leaned on a spear. “deserted” her and his child (402).251 The most obvious clue that Wollstonecraft substitutes Imlay for her mother -. using Imlay as a charm.250 For one thing. to her. in killing herself. Her “sacred engagement” with Imlay.coming from the “accumulated mortifications” of a childhood disturbed by an alcoholic father and abused mother. I would argue that. that has pierced me to the heart. as is a mother with a child.the being with whom she was one flesh -.comes from the fact of her attempting suicide when he leaves her. “Why have you so soon dissolved the charm?” (397). your tenderness seemed to make me amends for all my former misfortunes. her letters often present the fantasy that she and Imlay are one flesh. 149 . 242). in her own words. as well as the loss of both her mother and her dearest friend Fanny Blood when she was a young adult (241). in effect reincarnating her mother in Imlay.

till thinking almost drives me to the brink of madness . if I close my eyes.”252 In fact. it is to have the most terrifying dreams. Wollstonecraft’s letters beautifully describe depression in its modern form. she writes: I could encounter a thousand deaths. in ours.” as Styron calls it:253 To tell you truth. . by Freud and most recently William Styron. . as delineated during Wollstonecraft’s time by John Haslam’s Observations on Insanity and. and experiencing the pain of a mental “storm. I never suffered in my life so much from depression of spirits — from despair. “There are wounds that can never be healed. in which I often meet you with different casts of countenance. intoned most famously in his analysis of the hatred motivating suicide as not really hatred of the self but of the other. — I do not sleep — or. (431) Perhaps the most eloquent and lyrical description of depression ever written appears in a letter to Imlay while she is waiting for the ship to set sail from Hull which refers so clearly to both her 150 . Wollstonecraft’s letters to Imlay also recount her agony over being unable to sleep.” evoking Freud’s image of melancholia as an open wound (). . .That Wollstonecraft could be fantasmatically killing Imlay in killing herself is suggested by Freud’s notion that the melancholic “incorporates” the lost love object. (414) And finally. . Of the pain that Imlay has caused her. (413) I lie awake. internalized as the self: “Thus the shadow of the object fell upon the ego. she says. rather than a night like the last . right before her second suicide attempt.

Memoirs 215). even before she returns to London from Paris and attempts suicide. unable to banish the remembrances that sadden my heart” (414). . the way that she begins to have a sense of her words to Imlay as physical things uniting them — sacred things. . is a sign of psychosis. but that he will not hear of her anymore. The word is lethal: she’s not telling Imlay that he will not hear from her anymore. and one sign of Wollstonecraft’s incipient melancholy. do not shut your heart against a return of tenderness.. as I now in fancy cling to you. and. . which seems to presage a third. wealth. Wollstonecraft ends the letter shortly preceding her first suicide attempt. that is equal to a kiss . pleasure] are more necessary to you than [I am] — search for them — Say but one word. and you will make happy your ****” (378).physical and her mental state: “This is the fifth dreary day I have been imprisoned by the wind. my love. despite the friends they share in Paris and London.g. is the hallucinatory quality of the language in her letters.254 with 151 . This word-kiss provides a transfer of sentiment from one body to the other: “God bless you. despair becoming wind. as I did writing it. good-night! — God bless you! Sterne says. a curse (). and you shall never hear of me more” (397). she imagines his words as having the power to kill her: “If certain things [e. As she sinks further “into a melancholy mood” from Imlay’s absences. be more than ever my support. Todd reads the gesture as ironic. . and another.” (370). kissing: “But. This becoming physical of mental events. but Wollstonecraft makes clear in an early letter that she sees it rather as the equivalent of physical action. . — Feel but as affectionate when you read this letter. . She says “God bless you” at the end of almost every letter to Imlay despite her antipathy “to any system” of religion (Godwin.

What bests those two kinds of social glue are the “sacred emotions” (419).“God bless you. There is another aspect to the secretive nature of it. just as she continues to imagine that they are one flesh. “that my conduct has always been governed by the strictest principles of justice and truth. “aristocracy and fanaticism” (411) cannot adequately ground society. then.” she says. “It seems to me.” she says (435). that are “the sacred foundation of principle and affection” (438). Since she feels her connection with Imlay to be a political enactment. a living testament to her faith that a virtuous society can exist. Here the sacred secret is a steadfast adherence to the performative truth of one’s words — secret or private in the sense of existing extraneously to the corrupt society in which it is performed. she writes: 152 . upon arriving in Hull and waiting to sail to Norway. that extraneousness being demonstrated by the very fact that the bond it enacts will be maintained even to the death. we confront both personal pathology (Wollstonecraft’s fall into suicidal depression) and political “rectitude. In reading the Letters to Imlay. First. For Wollstonecraft.” Right after her first suicide attempt. But politically motivated rectitude has a private side. such as those she feels for Imlay. Wollstonecraft’s attempts at suicide testify that she would rather die than allow her own and Imlay’s secret “I do” to mean something other than their eternal connection. and “the rectitude of my heart” in adhering to those principles has “made me above vulgar precautions” such as legal marriage (432).” We confront two kinds of sacred secrets.” which could be a curse but could also attest to her belief that her words join them physically. the “horror” she feels upon “discovery of a breach of confidence” — his infidelities — is of a kind “that snaps every social tie” (421). as was suggested by Cavell’s statement above which connects intellectual heroism with the desire to “escape.

401. that it might become our tomb. that is. once again. The melancholic desire to be one with other human beings is both fueled and activated by the 153 . or wish. the work of communication. Cavell says. to give up the responsibility of their maintenance. This notion is melancholy insofar as absolute communion is really only imaginable in death: Sibella and Murden entombed together. as explored above. (408) North-bound ships often did sink. perhaps wishing that Fanny would join her so that she wouldn’t have to worry about having abandoned the child — clearly her uppermost concern in her letters before and after each suicide attempt (400. hardly daring to own to myself the secret wish. 430). “The sense of gap” between self and convention. Imlay. engagement in language games and social activity. is political critique. so she is hoping here not for suicide255 but “accidental” death.I have looked at the sea. That desire to “give up” is fed by the epistemological notion that two people can think identically. originates in an attempt. for enacting bonds secretly. “alienated” from) those shared forms of life. 421. the desire “to give up the responsibility” of maintaining shared forms of life. that communication can indeed become absolute short. Another reason is escapism. and that the heart. the continual positing and testing of forms of authority -. But Wollstonecraft’s “secret wish” to become an entombed mother and daughter fuels her more actively suicidal desires. negotiation. 418. necessitated by diversity: rhetoric. Wollstonecraft immersed in the sea. to escape (to remain a “stranger” to. still so alive to anguish. might there be quieted by death. Fanny. and at my child. (109) One reason for alienation.

swim.256 Open Secrets Luckily for us. . Imlay . any language. . radical political action does not depend for its efficacy on an epistemology that reifies truth into a sacred thing that exists physically -. That is. persisted in shutting their eyes. . . there is a public. and pretending they took her for a married woman. She was of too proud and generous a nature to stoop to hypocrisy. Did I think it right to [leave Valmont castle. . The moment when Murden falls in love with Sibella is the moment when she articulates the impotence of tyranny: I am not weak enough to descend to artifice.outside of any culture. . anti-melancholic way to enact the difference between hypocritical defiance of conventions and virtuous rebellion against corruption. and that moats and walls are feeble barriers to a detemined will. ] however. .politically radical epistemology that sustains Locke’s and Godwin’s notions of democracy: the belief that cultural critique can operate by sacramentally transforming words into things. (104) Godwin’s Memoirs present Wollstonecraft’s similar strategy of always “go[ing] openly” in her affairs: Mary made no secret of the nature of her connection with Mr.] I should go openly. and for Wollstonecraft. Valmont try his opposing strength. in spite of all that could be said. . But he would find that I could leap. (260) 154 . or dive. . Then might Mr. [Many “respectable” people.

Behaving secretly in the sense of having conducted a clandestine marriage with Imlay. able to give up the name of Imlay at will). feeling herself to be sacredly united to Imlay — Wollstonecraft apparently made it clear to London society that she and Imlay had never been formally married: “[S]he was. will conduce to “improvement” of “character and public welfare” (204). A virtuous readership would interpret her secrets as sacred. Through contradictory performances. using Imlay’s name but calling herself an unmarried mother. and does so using the proper name. . . (and Wollstonecraft is indeed. but opening up the secret by insisting that she has not been formally. It is this example that. Godwin hopes. and (2) that it is an infernal shame. surely sufficed to make the name she bore perfectly immaterial” (261). Imlay” — indeed. Wollstonecraft behaves as does the man described by Austin who does not have the authority to christen the ship but does so anyway. (1) that the ship was not thereby named. It is “an infernal shame” to live in a society in which legitimate performatives cannot be enacted by anyone who knows a true name. a sacred truth. Austin says of this action.Although she called herself “Mrs. Wollstonecraft attests to the unconventionality and sacredness of their engagement. . Moreover Godwin himself performs the open secret by publishing his Memoirs and Wollstonecraft’s Letters to Imlay. . an unmarried mother . Godwin risks scandal in 155 . Godwin’s Memoirs describe Wollstonecraft performing an “open” secret. Her scrupulous explicitness as to the nature of her situation. another kind as vicious and profane. legally. and constantly professed herself to be. publicly married at all. . . the name with which the ship will really be christened by “legitimate” authorities.

. equality forges private (secret. that a sacred society could exist.257 Round characters can be flattened in 156 . Fenwick’s Secresy is unsure.” Romantic Biography: Experience Benjamin DeMott has recently lamented the lack of psychological depth in Tom Wolfe’s journalistic novels such as Bonfire of the Vanities. . because no strategems for inequality need to be concealed (kept secret. . . . . it seems. in the virtuous sense of the word). This would be a radically utopian society. in the aristocratic sense of the word). as is visible in Godwin’s recipe given there for sociopolitical reform: [I]t is the duty of individuals to publish truth without diffidence or reserve . should be urged to tell the whole truth without disguise. In this interesting period. in which mind shall arrive as it were at the true crisis of its story. . unlike Godwin and Wollstonecraft who attempt to bring that society into existence by enacting contradictory performatives that look psychologically like genius. and social ineptitude. as is described in Godwin’s Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. there are high duties incumbent upon every branch of the community. in which sacred openness definitively replaces “infernal shame. (3. . . arrogance.hopes that he can reform secrecy as a social and political practice — which would of course bring into existence the society of equals who coexist rationally. . [T]ruth must be told at whatever expence. except in the tomb. sacred ties. [T]hose cultivated and powerful minds [leading reform] .468-469) In this society. .

meeting neither failure to conform nor reasoned resistance. discovering self in open secrets. More than that. Ordinary language philosophy and psychoanalysis are the ultimate fulfillment and ultimate 157 . in Wolfe’s novels. the private with the public. conventional forms only inspire and deflate vanities. In Romantic biography.novels for many reasons (see Lynch.if we posit intentions as separate from words when words don’t perform as they should -. it also indicates that she has moved out of Locke’s epistemology into another one. Given this epistemological framework. when really the only way to do so is through death. Being at odds with the language one speaks is certainly a rhetorical predicament. but it is also simultaneously a psychological one. in doing so. resistance gives us deep souls. If Wollstonecraft’s use of contradictory performatives coincides with the lifting of her depression. one attempts to work through rather than around conventional forms. note 10). The pain of Wollstonecraft’s suffering. But Wollstonecraft ultimately engages in another kind of radical political action: the contradictory performative. If political corruption provides a context for psychological depth -. but one reason is that. The radical epistemology within which Wollstonecraft and Godwin envisioned political progress offers melancholia as a temptation insofar as it proposes that one can in fact escape social forms. deep psychology secures the hope of radical reform. as revealed in her Letters to Imlay. suicide is the most cogent rejection of corrupt cultural forms. I hope to have shown here that the quest for discovery of one’s own deepest soul is not is also the case that only resistance to corrupt forms gives us intentions lurking below the surface of language. shows that this depth is much more than a “mere” rhetorical device used in Romantic biography for the sake of proposing political reforms. allowing the sacred to mingle with the earthly.(nor even a-) political if.

both show that empirical philosophy was wrong to think that one could escape social bonds by pinning the meaning of words directly onto things. Austin. The secrets of the unconscious. and it is a linguistic one. defined by Cavell as sounding to their depths the criteria of words. in other words. In other words. are visible in discursive events (if not necessarily rational ones): they have a body. by seeing linguistic performances as physical incarnations. I am of course here thinking of “free association” as the major instrument for psychoanalysts and analysands of uncovering unconscious wishes. 158 . Analyst and patient uncover the word’s interpersonal. they constitute an ideal political community of at least two. and all forms have a social history. L.critique of empirical philosophy: neither one sees cultural mediation as escapable through the referential use of language. But it is also the case that a lot of what gets done in any analytic session is ordinary language philosophy as practiced by J. as does language. community relations. Lacan says that the unconscious is structured like a language because all desire makes use of form to secure its objects. as a way of discovering why the patient selected that particular word at that moment: in order to reveal what? To the extent that analyst and patient do manage to perform secrets openly.

multiple ideologies. whether they be historical or literary. The so-called aesthetic ideology258 is a misleading reduction insofar as it proposes “THE aesthetic”: there are multiple aesthetics. Mohanty: for Mohanty.Conclusion Developing Taste. they fit better into 159 . nor insist upon themselves as a substitute for political action. then. Though bias as defined by Mohanty and Lukàcs therefore go far toward explaining their method of analysis. The other is that the various aesthetic ideals proposed by these writers. Passionate Disinterestedness The kinds of critical distance described in this book as enacted by Enlightenment feminists fit into Jurgen Habermas’s understanding of what is necessary for completing the task of modernity. Part of what is required to accomplish this task is critical distance. objectivity is determinable through “an analysis of different kinds of bias. The reduction that obscures these other aesthetics and ideologies is only possible when women writers are excluded from view. A third is that these women writers help us understand how to mean what you say in an inequitable society. are not quietist nor evasive of linguistic predicaments – they do not try to hide the fact of mediation. some necessary in an inequitable world.”260 But the feminists whose work I have described in this book clearly themselves subscribe to a universal principle of ethics: radical equality. Standing Apart Several strands of argument traverse this book: one insists that Enlightenment feminist writings give us greater access to historical reality than any other because they are biased in favor of the oppressed rather than in spite of that bias.259 That may seem odd given that my readings of Enlightenment feminists subscribe to “objectivity” in the “post-positivist” understanding of it as best explained by Satya P.

” a world in which all behave morally. virtue is the strength to advocate for and oneself participate in social justice. It is precisely such a good that Hays. and the dedication to the right over the good. Anderson distinguishes Habermas’s ideal of virtue from Kant’s by pointing out that. Fenwick.” Anderson says. . as seen in Chapter 2 above. a heuristic device. for Kant. articulated in the Groundwork of a Metaphysic for Morals (1785). Participating in an as yet unachieved social justice sounds like Immanuel Kant’s formula for moral action. rather than “chastity. . assign to themselves the task of rigorous impartiality in acting in the name of the right [. in which one acts as if living in a completely rational “kingdom of ends. . (177) The difference between “right” and “good” here is the difference between a principle of equity and some claimed substantive good.] the aspiration to impartiality. But for all the women writers discussed in this book. Wollstonecraft. The Enlightenment project demands] stringent self-reflexivity and post-conventionality [. . It is precisely such a good that Macaulay resists. 160 . . . Shelley. . Virtue can of course be defined as a set of culturally specific positivities or substances. when she insists upon the principle of independence of mind. the constant attempt to break free of the horizon(s) of one’s [own particular] ethical life.a Habermasian view of Enlightenment thinking as explained and expanded upon by Amanda Anderson: “individuals can and should.” a substantive good as well as a particular cultural ideal insofar is it a thing in which someone holds an interest in making ethical judgments about Charles I and women who are her contemporaries. and Opie refuse in substituting one kind of romance for another in their novels: they substitute love of virtue for love of particular people.

the continuous oscillation of overthrow and usurpation. If Freud named such inequity “sexuality. Sexualizing is a defense Freud didn’t name. a pleasure deeper. Anderson argues for people’s passionate investment in democratic procedure: she calls it “aspiration. Macaulay and Barbauld clearly articulate that pleasure comes from enacting one’s belief in social equity.” Barbauld argues. will unleash interminable violence. ideal of virtue. among other places. queens. “a shared dedication to principled democratic procedure” (178). you love virtue as passionately as you love your own freedom not simply because freedom is intrinsically lovable (as it is for Kant) but for the pleasure virtue gives you. It is Edmund Burke who in Reflections on the Revolution in France insists that one can only love figureheads. they insist. or Anderson’s. and not democratic principles. Agreeing with her opponent Anna Barbauld 161 . college campuses.moral duty is often disagreeable insofar as desire often contravenes duty. is to be found in “demonstrations against the invasions in Iraq” that recently took place across U. Macaulay and Barbauld are closer to Habermas. Barbauld’s assault on a particular kind of sensuality can be used to argue that the repressed which psychoanalysis seeks to recover is passion – suffering arising from trauma inflicted upon those made passive by inequitable law or its exception by an absolute potentate (Empire). and it is on that basis that he offers as a conservative fantasy the notion that revolution. than the sensual pleasure offered by gains ill-gotten in an inequitable structure.S. According to the writings analyzed above. monarchs. Anderson says. once started as it was in France. it is only because we are still titillated by absolutist power. one that arguably enabled as much as it undermined psychoanalytic theory in his hands. be it that of despotism or exceptionalism.” A concrete instance of this aspiration to or passion for virtue.

. indignation always takes place of admiration .(see chapter 3 above). . Though for Barbauld. a defense against what? In this Enlightenment-feminist psychoanalytic account. as it clearly is for Rousseau in Wollstonecraft’s view. that she should be [. Mary Wollstonecraft identifies sexualization as a defense in her second Vindication: [W]armly as I admire the genius of [Rousseau]. feel herself independent. whose opinions I shall often have occasion to cite. if sexualization in Freud is a defense. hate. and revenge.] What nonsense! When will a great man arise with sufficient strength of mind to puff away the fumes which pride and sensuality have thus spread over the subject!261 Such passages contribute to Wollstonecraft being read as a virtue-bound rationalist in our time and as a hypocrite in her own. . But to return to discussing the specific alternative to psychoanalysis offered by Enlightenment feminisms. for a moment. in asymmetrical power relationships. joy grounded in equality may not involve sex. . Barbauld equates sadomasochistic sexuality with feudal structures. Sexualization would be a defense against feeling passion as the response to being passionated. the orgasmic pleasure accompanying pain. being traumatized by inequity gives rise to what Hays calls “the tyranny of the passions” (Hays. As seen above. or rendered passive. but attacks on masculinist sensuality are not prudery. . .] made a coquettish slave in order to render her a more alluring object of desire [. . . arguing that there is a greater joy than jouissance.] Rousseau declares that a woman should never. the works discussed in this book describe queer communities and “individual” passions in which sexual love is both implicitly and explicitly expressed. when I read his voluptuous reveries[. Memoirs of Emma Courtney 221). According to André 162 . . .

264 Whereas for Freud and Lacan libido is repressed in order to sustain the pleasure principle. love differs from “the tyranny of the passions” that we call neurosis or psychosis and that Enlightenment thinkers called “fanaticism. but not as an object – as a subject. What occurs for these analysts in the holding environment that constitutes the psychoanalytic situation is not just transference-neurosis but love.” The post-classical psychoanalysts discussed by Nikolaas Treurniet see Freud as having misunderstood how the pre-Oedipal functions in psychoanalysis (see note 195).262 That Lacan also completely excludes the mother from his version of the mirror stage263 points to the connection made between affect and the pre-Oedipal mother. But just as Kristeva sees transcendence as possible through love.266 for these Enlightenment feminists. Adam Phillips speaks of restoring to the analysand access to his or her own “talents”. The best interpretation of analytic neutrality is not withholding of gratification but a leveling of analyst and analysand that empowers the latter to become a subject of history. Nikolaas Treurniet’s patients correct his metapsychology and know they are doing it for posterity. Unlike Freud. an argument with which Kristeva would agree though she may see symbolic asymmetries of power as ineradicable. The analyst loves the analysand. Jacques Lacan completely repudiates the place of affect in psychoanalytic theory. both in Ernest Jones’s notion of the Urangst and Kristeva’s notion of abjection.265 the Enlightenment feminists discussed in this book would argue that deep anguish is repressed in order to sustain the inequality principle. they realize that it is not just libido-cathected signifiers which pass between people in a relationship but also affect-laden meanings. Evelyne Schwaber describes this kind of equality as a way of listening that allows the 163 .Green. transitional objects co-authored in a holding environment267 or a community that is “queer” insofar as circulation within it is playful and safe.

the “victims” who are the novels’ central characters. Taking up the subject position in a society that refuses it to you sometimes requires drastic means for making meanings true: for women. virtue includes as its definition the strength necessary for shifting the place from which they enunciate.268 In the analytic scene as well as in a world trying to become radically egalitarian. But if virtue offers pleasure in one’s own strength. in making its main characters capable of wedding others to living with them in an equitable community (see p. 56 above).e. your right to contradict my claims (see p. 2) a goal. love is directed away from objects toward: 1) a principle. Since these writers are themselves oppressed. creating a society in which saying what one feels is always practical. Yet these writers do it. it also has psychic costs in an unequal world. it can require fatal attraction (chapter 4) or suicide (chapter 5). Macaulay speaks to Burke and others from the position of someone who has already won. 26 above). for hefting oneself up from objecthood into the position of subject of history. though she is not in that position: you must prove. as this book demonstrates. the means for achieving radical equality. she demands. is the power to make historical meaning: it is virtue. Partly it does so thematically. radical equality. can make effective. How can one speak on behalf of the object of oppression and simultaneously be the object? Speaking as a potent(ial) victim would seem to be impossible.analysand to create his or her own hermeneutic rather than subjecting him or herself to the analyst’s. The latter. and 3) a means for achieving that society. The philosophical romance does the same. governmental) decrees. They straddle a contradiction in their lives and their writings 164 . always judicious – no longer queer in the pejorative sense. “Virtue” for these Enlightenment feminists means passionate adherence to the principle of equality. The oppressed women. valid (i.

in part. though the temperature of the climate may rather force him to avoid the dangerous damps they exhale. but not very picturesque—with what delight did I not observe the poor man’s 165 . the heart was allowed to beat true to nature. and the trees grow to recreate the fancy of the planter. is the most sublime of all enjoyments. These effects can only be achieved if we develop taste. His gardens are planted. temples. and plenty would smile around. Taste In Vindication of the Rights of Men. for these predations: The rich man builds a house. Mary Wollstonecraft accuses Edmund Burke of “set[ting] up a spurious. Every thing on the estate is cherished but man.—yet. and elegant cottages. In the other they live and affect history. sensual beauty. to contribute to the happiness of man. Wollstonecraft attacks that kind of taste driving cultivation of the sublime and picturesque in the gardens of grand estates comprised of enclosed commons and protected by the Black Act which made usage by the poor a capital offense. obelisks. as objects for the eye. instead of sweeping pleasure-grounds. But if. they create history by committing suicide in order to protest against dying intestate. under the specious form of natural offering contradictory endings. art and taste give it the highest finish.”269 (121). than seek the umbrageous retreat. decent farms would be scattered over the estate. She blames taste. unusable land cultivated only to be seen by a despotic lord: Returning once from a despotic country to a part of England well cultivated. (145) A depraved taste enjoys the very signs of political oppression. In one.

that art. she has an “unlettered. threatening. with all the rustic contrivances of simple. magazines. theoretically. be used by anybody. depraved taste. that touted by despots. with its unique undiminished authority. was a sight which relieved the eye that had wandered indignant from the stately palace to the pestiferous hovel. She opposes natural taste to Burke’s civilized. and obfuscating power—spelled out in Burke’s treatise on the sublime. specious. And she even posits the possibility of a different “sublime. unlettered taste. both their laws and their taste.270 In attacking Burke for “canonizing”—her word—“our forefathers” (41). she participates in an argument launched more recently by Walter Benjamin and John Berger. and turned from the awful contrast into itself to mourn the fate of man.” Berger argues that reproducibility. and curse the arts of civilization! (147-148) Her heart does beat true to nature. give a specious “aura” to original works of art—specious insofar as art works no longer really serve as the holy relics they once did: Because works of art are reproducible.” what she in her letters to Imlay repeatedly calls an “unsophisticated”!—The homely palings and twining woodbine. prints of pictures for instance. they can. sensuous.” one not based on the sadomasochistic relations—a viewer cowering in terror before a superior. films or within gilt frames in living-rooms—reproductions are still used to bolster the illusion that nothing has changed. justifies most other 166 . Yet mostly—in art books. Laying out Benjamin’s argument in “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.

that art makes inequality seem noble and hierarchies seem thrilling. and. nine out of ten. One cannot simply exhibit scenes of social oppression in novels or poems because the impulse of deriving pleasure from thrilling hierarchies will only be fed by these representations. have not had time to cultivate their minds. the captive negroes curse in all the agony of bodily pain. if the voice of rumour is to be credited. after the sight of a flagellation. whom. (111) 167 . who. not thwarted. for the unheard of tortures they invent? It is probable that some of them. with her. Barbauld. I leave you to determine. born in the lap of affluence. working to support the body. in the fair ladies. But these writers also know that contradicting these artistic ideals is incredibly difficult. the creatures of habit and impulse. It is not merely a matter of educating people. but of re-educating the rich: The vulgar. have never had their invention sharpened by necessity are. One can see this argument in Wollstonecraft’s discussion of novel-reading in the context of the evils of what she calls “the infernal slave trade” (128): Where is the dignity. but likewise those who. making poor people more civilized or sophisticated. and Hays as shown earlier in this book: the aesthetic ideology that makes hierarchy thrilling.forms of authority. the infallibility of sensibility. (Wollstonecraft.271 This is precisely what Wollstonecraft here protests.—How true these tears are to nature. and by this epithet I mean not only to describe a class of people. compose their ruffled spirits and exercise their tender feelings by the perusal of the last imported novel. Vindication 1 28). Fenwick.

and. 33).274 Jeanette Winterson theorizes the process in her book Art Objects. not in canonical works. The passage continues immediately: But these ladies may have read your Enquiry concerning the origin of our ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful.272 Though popular eighteenth-century novels would seem to instill the desire to reform social evil. taste must change. they do not. THE aesthetic that promotes an obscurantist ideology is therefore staked. she blames their unnatural feelings directly on aesthetics. For the aesthetic to address social inertia.” sexually or otherwise. the latter functioning in her title as both noun and verb: Canonising pictures is one way of killing them. I want to concentrate on true artists.273 Frustration at readers who construct an aura around particularly literary works and then attack them for being oracular motivates Susan Wolfson’s Formal Charges. I do not want to argue here about great artists. by counterfeiting weakness. Insofar as hierarchies are thrilling—even or especially intellectual ones—the aura that ensconces artistic productions obscures for us any encounter with their historicity (Berger 31. major or minor.And most important for the argument in this book. but in canonizing modes of reading. may have laboured to be pretty. a book that provides historical readings of formal problems. (111-112) Wollstonecraft was the first in a series of feminists to attack Burke for his gendering of aesthetics. convinced by your arguments. to make “hierarchies” no longer “thrilling.275 168 . . The political potential of various aesthetics is their capacity to reform our very desires. who are connected to the past and who themselves make a connection to the future. . .

The eighteenth-century feminist’s self-explanation includes an analysis of our own incapacity to understand her.’ why ‘yes’? and if ‘no.’ why ‘no’? The obvious direct emotional response is never simple. Winterson agrees: [T]he process of art is a series of jolts. for art is an extraordinarily faithful [historical] transmitter. they are more valuable than otherwise for understanding human history. But if ‘yes. I would insist. the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ has nothing at all to do with the picture in its own right. 169 . . its sources and springs in social inequities that still prevail. Our job is to keep our receiving equipment in good working order. or perhaps I mean volts.The aesthetic derived from canonizing may indeed promote an obscurantist ideology. the histories. but various counter-aesthetics open a door into past reality insofar as their proponents try to answer the question. what would the world have to be like for inequality to seem as ugly as it is morally repugnant? To me the works analyzed in this book are fascinating precisely because the devaluation of these aesthetic objects is indecipherably due to artistic or responsive ineptitude. . undecidably their failure to please for bad reasons or refusal to gratify for good. (13) More able to be self-reflexive and evaluative perhaps than a picture. How? [. and ninetynine times out of a hundred. novels. If these works seem ugly to us.] ‘Do I like this?’ is the question anyone should ask themselves at the moment of confrontation with the picture. and poems I have examined justify their wayward aesthetic values and historicizing ambitions.

170 .” and “romantic biography” discussed above do not only describe heroines who enact social equity. and Barbauld offer hints of possible outcomes. the part trampled and ignored by things as they are.Literature is one place where acknowledgment of the victim can be enacted. In this writing and reading of cases lies the untapped potential of enlightenment thinking. Psychoanalysis is a fundamentally literary technique. Lodore’s. as John Forrester maintains. they themselves do so as artistic practice. Here acknowledgment. For if (post)modernity involves seeing today as different from yesterday. By actively publishing the history.276 The case history. philosophical romancers give the victim historical potency insofar as the case works toward a better future. The genres of “philosophical romance. Macaulay. Hays. the case histories of Wollstonecraft. Villier’s. Emma’s. It remains for us to write their end. like an effective analyst. comes from the case history: Jemima’s. recognizing the victim’s subjective potency. Like Wollstonecraft’s The Wrongs of Woman. traces out the truthful part of a victim’s emotions. enlightenment means allowing change to be effected now by the past. psychoanalysis the other.

Josef Breuer. and Feminism: The Case of Anna O. cited hereafter in the text. Sarah Knott. Press. ed. cited hereafter in the text. 4 Timothy J. 2 I discuss aesthetics especially in the book’s conclusion. 1986).” Feminist Studies 9. 8 Sexuality in the Field of Vision (London: Verso. Women. “Revolution in Bounds: Wollstonecraft. 137. 1989). trans. 2005).Notes 1 Dror Wahrman. Alan Sheridan (New York: Vintage Books. Linda Kauffman (New York: Basil Blackwell. 25-26. Thomas 3 Docherty (New York: Columbia Univ.” and Frances Ferguson. Introduction to Section 3.]). 20 July 2004. ed. trans. 98-109. Jürgen Habermas. Michel Foucault. Discipline and Punish. The Way We Argue Now (Princeton: Princeton Univ. ed. 136139. Sigmund Freud. 2006). Realism in Our Time: Literature and the Class Struggle.” The Future Human 9 Conference. 5 Amanda Anderson.3 (1983): 465-488. [n. 1964). Reiss.d. and Reason. 7 Dianne Hunter. Gender and Enlightenment. 171 . Juliet Mitchell. Barbara Taylor (New York: Palgrave Macmillan. trans.” in Gender & Theory: Dialogues on Feminist Criticism. Sex and Sensibility.. “Wollstonecraft Our Contemporary. Studies in Hysteria. 10 Georg Lukács. 1-23. “Modernity – An Incomplete Project. “Destruction of Humanism and the Humanities. Italy. Psychoanalysis. James Strachey (New York: Basic 6 Books.” in Postmodernism. Prato. Press. 1979. 11-50. 1993). of Women. “Hysteria. John and Necke Mander (New York: Harper & Row. 51-62.

Adam Phillips calls this process of subjectification “recovering one’s talents. 29-31. Press. Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Berkeley: Univ.” in Redrawing the Boundaries. ed. Steven Marcus. 71. 20 Thomas Laqueur. 620. ed. 14 “Romantic Studies. of California Press. MA: Harvard Univ.11 Dispatches from the Freud Wars: Psychoanalysis and Its Passions (Cambridge. 600. 15 Sigmund Freud. 2. 2 vols.91. 247. Giles Gunn (New York: MLA. England in 1819 (Chicago: Univ. 13 Thomas De Quincey.” 18 Nancy J. “On an Ethic of Psychoanalytic Technique. Press. Press. Stephen Greenblatt. 1985]. 1892).” International Review of Psycho-Analysis 10 (1983): 379-392. 1962). 1997). 1992). 1987). Femininities. MA: Harvard Univ. 172 .” in Uncollected Writings. 1996). 19 Nikolaas Treurniet. Press of Kentucky. of Chicago Press. KY: Univ. Chodorow. 1998). 610. 122. 36-42. Sexualities (Lexington. “Psychoanalytic Listening and Psychic Reality. Masculinities. “Casuistry of Duelling. Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. 606.” Psychoanalytic Quarterly 66 (1997): 596-627. 16 “Freud though [femininity] an inherently pathological state” (Robert Stoller. 17. 295. Presentations of Gender [New Haven: Yale Univ. 12 Evelyne Schwaber. 100-129. James Strachey (New York: Basic Books. quoted in James Chandler. trans. 17 In Terrors and Experts (Cambridge. 1994). (London: Swan Sonnenschein.

revealing the alliance of the ideology with political liberalism (J. The Political Works of James Harrington. 7 vols.” Analytical Review 8 (1790): 247254. 1976]. Virtue.309-322. Letters on Education : with Observations on Religious and Metaphysical Subjects. By Catharine Macaulay Graham. 1989). Commerce. The Origins of the English Novel. Class and Sexual Differences in the 1830s and 1840s: Some Reflections on the Writing of a Feminist History. 25 J. Janet Todd. Pocock. eds. 7. “Article 1. 22 Sally Alexander. 1987). Susan Eilenberg.’” London Review of Books (30 Nov. J. A. 212ff. G. Pocock (New York: Cambridge Univ. A. “’Forget that I exist. G. 1600-1740 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press. on the question of history. hereafter cited in the text by volume and page number. 1985). in Marilyn Butler. An alternative definition of virtue occurs in the tradition of civic humanism. “Women. 23 The best account of this ideology and its rise appears in Michael McKeon.21 Mary Wollstonecraft. Pocock. and Laura Rosenthal for untiring perspicuity as well as heroic patience. Introduction. 16. Press. 1977).” History Workshop Journal 17 (Spring 1984): 125-149. The Works of Mary Wollstonecraft. 261). A. 46-48. I would like to thank Kevin Gilmartin for helpful suggestions at an early stage of this project. G. Rpt. 24 John Brewer notes Macaulay’s remarkable disagreement. 173 . Press. Press. Press. and History (New York: Cambridge Univ.. ed. with the members of the radical opposition forming her circle (Party Ideology and Popular Politics at the Accession of George III [New York: Cambridge Univ. (New York: New York Univ. 2000): 12-14.

29 What history needs. 1987). 1967. 28 Hayden White. 31 J. Laplanche and J. . The Invention of the Countryside: Hunting. Press.114-125. .and twenty-first-century historians’ sense of objectivity requires them “to enter sympathetically into the minds or consciousness of human agents long dead. Situatedness. 67. The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith (New York: W. 122). Pontalis. 2001). 206). 1973). disciplined by its subordination to the rules of evidence” (67). Feminism as Critique (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press. Norton. 1998]. see Donna Landry. Walking. 30 David Simpson. 1-15. The Language of Psychoanalysis. 32 According to White. 1988). 9. 194. and Equality in English Literature. 349. Both Mark Phillips and Jayne Lewis have gone far toward tracking the emergence “of the sentimental method so crucial to eighteenth-century historiography” (Jayne Lewis. 2002). Mary Queen of Scots: Romance and Nation [New York: Routledge.” all the while keeping “the imagination . 1671-1831 (New York: Palgrave. 27 For a counterview to the one I’m proposing here that allies the anti-hunting movement to bourgeois values. or Why We Keep Saying Where We’re Coming From (Durham.26 Seyla Benhabib and Drucilla Cornell. NC: Duke Univ. Press. hereafter cited by page number. twentieth.-B. is “a revised notion of objectivity not in terms of a perspectiveless view from a transcendental position of absolute mastery but in terms of the attempt to counteract inevitable (and at times thought-provoking or heuristically valuable) processes of projection to work viably through one’s implication in the problems one investigates” (History and Memory After Auschwitz [Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Introduction. W. Press. 1998]. For 174 . Dominic LaCapra says.

1988). 1740-1820 [Princeton. Practice. 1998). 208. history” (101). Arnold Davidson. 2000]. and Class in the French Revolution (Berkeley: Univ. . 91. B. 2. rev. “sentimental revisions [. Presses of New England. . Essays Moral. 2.12-25). and Persuasion Across the Disciplines [Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press. .Phillips. 1926). 175 . Black. Culture. Lewis sees sentimental history as part of “the campaign to gain a common sensible view of the past” that would forge the imaginary sense of a coherent community subtending British nationalism (122). of California Press. Press. 72. Politics. ed. S. 1985). worked to produce an unprecedented sense of distinctly British . Crofts. especially Lewis’s insight as to how “Mary [Queen of Scot’s] career as a sentimental heroine . ed. cited hereafter by page number. . quoted in Mary Poovey. Miller. See also Lynn Hunt. Harry Harootunian (Questions of Evidence: Proof. NJ: Princeton UP. Phillips 29. Steven Blakemore. The Art of History: A Study of Four Great Historians of the Eighteenth Century (New York: F. 1984). .] of historical writing” (42) are a generic innovation (Mark Salber Phillips. . Political. Society and Sentiment: Genres of Historical Writing in Britain. and Literary. Relying on their work here. Burke and the Fall of Language: The French Revolution as Linguistic Event (Hanover. NH: Univ. . 35 J. A History of the Modern Fact: Problems of Knowledge in the Sciences of Wealth and Society (Chicago: Chicago Univ. Eugene F. 34 David Hume. 1994). (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics. this chapter also focuses on the emergence during the eighteenth century of the notion of historical objectivity. 33 I quote from the title of a collection of essays edited by James Chandler.

” in The French Revolution and British Popular Politics. 1991). 38 Mark Philp. Edmund Burke. 1995]. Mulford. iii. ed. in comparing Burke to Henry IV of France’s “wicked conspiracy against the rights of men” (Observations II 92) she 176 . and Fears of Masonic Conspiracy in 1792. Press. (London: T. “Joel Barlow. ed. and Hays all use the word “conspiracy. 169-187). 17. 59. 50-77. 65. Burke.. Hume.” the former to designate Mary’s machinations (David Hume. DC: Woodstock Books. 37 Marilyn Butler. rpt.152-154).62-65). Press. Cadell. the latter two those of Elizabeth (Tytler i. 3 vols.60. Female Biography. [Philadelphia: Birch and Small. 1807]. 1879].495498. on the Revolution in France (London: C. In the controversy over Mary Queen of Scots. 1997).36 William Tytler. Mark Philp (New York: Cambridge Univ. Into the Evidence Against Mary Queen of Scots. ed. iv. Paine. or. Godwin. Edmund Burke. From the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution in 1688. [New York: Harper & Brothers.. may provide the first instance of the “conspiracy theories” formulated by radicals against Burke’s paranoid account of the French Revolution since. Tytler. iii. Macaulay’s Observations on the Reflections of the Right Hon. Historical and Critical. “The Fragmented Ideology of Reform. 1790. Dilly.” in Secret Texts: The Literature of Secret Societies. Washington. and the Revolution Controversy (New York: Cambridge Univ. cited hereafter by page number in the text. 1803. 2 vols. An Inquiry. 1984). Mary Hays. 4th ed. Mulford discusses Joel Barlow’s 1792 poem “The Conspiracy of Kings” in relation to Burke’s fears of Masonic conspiracy (Carla J. 67. 6 vols. hereafter cited as Observations II to distinguish it from her earlier attack on Burke. The History of England. Memoirs of Illustrious and Celebrated Women. Hugh Ormsby-Lennon [New York: AMS Press. 1790). Marie Mulvey Roberts.

450. 1996). 39 Goodall’s An Examination of the Letters Said to be Written by Mary. 41 Lorraine Daston. Ruddimans. 1707-1789. Partisanship. That They Are Forgeries (Edinburgh: T. 1835). . Anne Mellor. 2000). 243-274. as Philp puts it. This story is recounted by Robert Chambers. (see note 24). a fact is presumed true if it is really the only bit of information that makes everything else comprehensible. “Presumptive evidence” is an exception to this statement: in this case. “Mary Stuart’s Fatal Box. “Marvelous Facts and Miraculous Evidence in Early Modern Europe.453. eds.2 (2001): 379-408.” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 31. “Ashes and the ‘Archive’: The London Fire of 1666. Queen of Scots. and Proof. 208. 7. Paul J. The Analytic Attitude (New York: Basic Books. ii. 42 Frances Dolan. (Edinburgh. 1754) whitewashes Mary’s reputation. “’The sorrow of seeing the Queen’: Mary Queen of Scots and the British History of Sensibility. 390. ed. of Deleware Press. 177 . and W. “that the bloodshed in France is a result of the conspiracy of European states . Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen. Novak. 43 “Fräulein Elisabeth Von R” (in Studies in Hysteria. Freud’s “On Repression” describes this operation in theoretical terms. 193-220.” in Maximillian E. 40 “Fatal Box” 452.” (59). DE: Univ. 1983). . 156-7. to James.427-474. Earl of Bothwell: Shewing by Intrinsick and Extrinsick Evidence. 44 Roy Schafer. 8-9.indeed insinuates. Korshin (New York: AMS Press..” in The Age of Johnson: A Scholarly Annual. see note 1). Passionate Encounters in a Time of Sensibility (Newark.” in Chandler. 4 vols. ed. quoted in Jayne Lewis. 135-182.

Romanticism at the End of History (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. must one conclude that a woman produces a different historiography from that of a man? Of course I do not answer this question. 59. Press.” in Chandler.1 (1976): 59-83. 1985]. of blacks. ed. 363-387. quoted in Joan Scott. . 910. see Simpson (see note 21). “Catharine Macaulay and the Uses of History: Ancient Rights. of Jews. De Certeau’s insight has had the misfortune of inciting what Spivak calls the “critical piety” of reciting a detailed description of the position from which one speaks. of Chicago Press. 379. of cultural minorities.” New Literary History 32 (2001): 907-931. 1990). etc. [F]rom the fact of the differentiation of the sexes.45 Jerome Christensen. 5. but here it serves as a useful analytic tool. 2000). [see note 24]. “The Evidence of Experience. 48 Stanley Cavell. “Saving Disinterest: Aesthetics. of Minnesota Press. but I do assert that this interrogation puts the place of the subject in question and requires a treatment of it unlike the epistemology that constructed the ‘truth’ of the work on the foundation of the speaker’s irrelevance” (Heterologies: Discourse on the Other. Perfectionism. and Mixed Conditions. trans. Contingency. Conditions Handsome and Unhandsome: The Constitution of Emersonian Perfectionism (Chicago: Univ. 46 George Levine. 49 Michel de Certeau articulates the question of situatedness this way: “That the particularity of the place where discourse is produced is relevant will be naturally more apparent where historiographical discourse treats matters that put the subject-producer of knowledge into question: the history of women. . note 4). 217-18. 178 . For more on this issue. Brian Massumi [Minneapolis: Univ. 47 Lynne E.” Journal of British Studies 16. . 930 note 4. 208 note 5. and Propaganda. Withey.

Reflections on the Revolution in France. 1986). Carol H. The History of England From the Accession of James I. hereafter.1-45): reformers attributed to the government “alarmism as a disorder of the imagination.. 51 Edmund Burke. A Fantasy of Reason: The Life and Thought of William Godwin [Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul. her Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792. however. Mary Wollstonecraft: A Revoultionary Life (New York: Columbia Univ. 53 Mary Wollstonecraft. 1791). a kind of hysteria by which every demand for political change was imagined as a threat to the king” (44) – i. attempts by loyalists and radicals alike to attribute imaginative distortion of reality to the other side (Imagining the King’s Death: Figurative Treason. 4. 167. 1980]. 169. [New York: Norton. 52 Janet Todd. 3rd ed.. In opposing reformers.50 Catharine Macaulay. to the Elevation of the House of Hanover.. 54 John Barrell discusses at length the role of imagination in the Revolution controversy. Fantasies of Regicide 1793-1796 [New York: Oxford Univ. loyalists after Burke never defend imagination: “I can find no defender of Burke or opponent of Paine who could produce a positive use of ‘imagination’ which did not call attention to those very aspects of the word which make it difficult to use in 179 .e. 1960). 1790 (New York: Penguin Classics. Press. 1988]) as Vindication II. Press. A Vindication of the Rights of Men. Poston.214. FL: Scholars’ Facsimiles. 1790 (Gainseville. vol. 2000]. ed. 2nd ed. 175. as “constructive treason” (see also Don Lock. iv. 7686). Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Men will be cited as Vindication I. 27. Charles I (London: Edward and Charles Dilly. 2000).

55 William Robertson. That imagination is a near cousin of fanaticism may explain why. 135-137. William. 56 Phillips extensively analyzes Hume’s construction of critical distance in his histories. 1975). 2 vols. cited in the text as Observations I. 180 . Misogynous Economies: The Business of Literature in Eighteenth-Century Britain [Lexington. Plowman. British Women Writers and the Writing of History. 1811). With Observations on Religious and Metaphysical Subjects (London: C. Letters on Education. 1770). L.political discourse except pejoratively” (Barrell 26). as described by J. on Barbauld’s rejection of a feudal. not allied to content. Calvinistic God (see Laura Mandell. 59 This presumption that human perfectibility is both necessary and possible makes her work closer to Emerson’s and Thoreau’s as described by Cavell (see note 38 above). Press. 1999]. 1790). of Kentucky Press. L. Austin in How To Do Things With Words. 58 “Capricious” is Macaulay’s word in Observations I 8. (Philadelphia: J. 61 These are the effects of a linguistic performance that are not illocutionary. 1759. and see chapter 3 below). Dilly. 1670-1820 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. ii. Lewis analyzes this passage in great detail (Mary Queen of Scots [see note 23] 122). (Oxford: Clarendon Press.189. and his use of concepts of aesthetic distance in order to do so. The History of Scotland. Observations on a Pamphlet Entitled Thoughts on the Present Discontents (London: Edward and Charles Dilly. 2nd ed. 60 Devoney Looser. 2000). Bioren and T. 57 Catharine Macaulay. During the Reigns of Queen Mary and of King James VI. KY: Univ.

1964). 63 Georg Lukács.” Studies in Romanticism 42. that 181 . “Catharine Macaulay’s Civil War: Gender. though. and Republicanism in Georgian Britain. Realism in Our Time: Literature and Class Struggle.62 I am grateful to Dr. which suggests a disconnection between the two texts rather than continuities between them. Harper. this passage is discussed in the Introduction as well (see pp. overturned (“’Those Historical Laurels which Once Graced My Brow are Now in Their Wane’: Catharine Macaulay’s Last Years and Legacy. History. Looser maintains. According to Harper. Looser shows – a demand that would undercut my argument here that Macaulay abominates chivalry. Macaulay also demands chivalry from the press.2 [2002]: 170-198). trans. In this letter. for explaining to me the relation between science and positive proof. formerly of Savannah River Ecology Laboratory.2 [2003]: 203-225). John and Necke Mander (New York: Harper & Row. a premise that necessitates looking for feminist ideas in female characters drawn by Macaulay (Philip Hicks. the kind of evidence typically used in scientific practice consists in presuming that an hypothesis is true until something falsifies it. Steven J. 64 It is on the basis of reading her History as merely classical that Hicks analyzes her feminism. 3-5 above).” Journal of British Studies 41. 65 Devoney Looser has discovered a new letter by Macaulay to Ralph Griffiths attacking him for publishing an unfavorable review of her Letters in The Monthly Review in which Macaulay defends herself by repudiating her own historical work as outmoded. and then coming up with another hypothesis capable of explaining the counterevidence. My method differs insofar as I am looking for feminist rhetorical effects of statements that may or may not be about women. 68.

added the 1700 edition of his Essay. politically radical thinkers from the anti-psychiatry movement through Foucault to the Lacanians – and even. Hume’s “My Life” first appeared in 1777. The Republican Virago: The Life and Times of Catharine Macaulay.Macaulay’s letter to Griffith is undecidably either self-deprecating or ironic. 66 I say this because Locke’s chapter on Association. see the Introduction (pp. 1992). 67 68 Macaulay. Madness. 70 Davis notices the verbal echo (610). 182 . 69 Mossner 310 qtd. in Natalie Zemon Davis. Historian (Oxford: Clarendon P. Roy Porter (“Reason. I would suggest interpreting it as ironic. 2-3 above). in a milder way. quoted in Bridget Hill. revealing that both had one fit in projective history and one foot in modern objectivist historical practice.xii-xiii) which first appeared in 1781.”American Historical Review 93. 34. 11. Based on my argument in this chapter. Needless to say. quoting the sixth volume of the first edition of Macaulay’s works (6.1 (1988): 1-30. it seems to me that Hume’s and Macaulay’s histories were as often accused by contemporaries of being the mouthpieces of party as they were praised as disinterested. and the French Revolution. discusses how misassociated ideas make people mentally ill. Critical Review 27 (1769): 81. Letters 222.” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 20 [1990]: 55-80) – are still trying to dope out the connection between madness and (political) resistance. “History’s Two Bodies. complementing in a very dangerous way the earlier sections on language that show how the linguistic associations of ideas formed by society and upbringing are false and misleading.

“’The Liberty of a She-Subject of England’: Rights Rhetoric and the Female Thucydides. Brian Southam (Oxford: Clarendon Press. given the aesthetic satisfaction of the endings.2 (1989): 161-184. Armstrong. European Magazine 4 (1783): 331 (Hill 42-43).71 Susan Staves. Austen’s novels actually close down or open up the possibility for critiquing the patriarchal ideology that would like to see women objectified and legally restrained (Butler.” of course. at least in argument” (332. ed. by Jane Austen. in New Casebooks: Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. ed. that the celebrated Scotch historian. 76 Sir Charles Grandison. Newman. cited hereafter by editor and page number in the text.” Cardozo Studies in Law and Literature 1. 77 Such is the assumption of all the essays gathered together by Robert Clark about two of Austen’s novels. 1994).” in 183 . 72 73 London Chronicle 25 (1769): 45. Hill also quotes the magazine’s conclusion to their public debate: “It is unnecessary to observe. in the present correspondence. 1980). nonetheless. quoted in Hill 34. these essays ruminate on the extent to which. the image of rising up remains. 169-170. 57. 74 75 Quoted. “born and raised”. The reviewer means by “rise up. is manifestly inferior to the lady. 78 Miriam Wallace discusses the differences between them that tend to be erased by this rubric. Looser “Historical Laurels” (203). Written by major literary critics. Hays’s valuation of feeling as an element of philosophy versus Wollstonecraft’s privileging of reason (“Mary Hays’s ‘Female Philosopher’: Constructing Revolutionary Subjects. Martin’s Press. Robert Clark (London: St. quoted in Hill 43). in Todd 179.

ed. 1976. 4 (Saturday.” from The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer: Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecarft. 68. 233-260).. a polemic that she continues in Formal Charges (Stanford. W. Both novels will be hereafter cited in the text by page number. VA: University Press of Virginia. Wimsatt (Berkeley: University of California Press. ed. 1988. 2nd ed. CA: Stanford UP. 1977). 31 March 1750). Carol Poston (New York: Norton. Gary Kelly (New York: Oxford University Press. Wordsworth’s Great Period Poems (1986). 81 Nancy Armstrong. Mary Poovey.Rebellious Hearts: British Women Writers and the French Revolution. 29-50. 155. 45. “Ideological Contradictions and the Consolations of Form. 84 Mary Wollstonecraft to Mary Hays. and Marjorie Levinson. 85. Amanda Gilroy. Adriana Craciun. 83 The locus classicus of this argument in British Romantic Studies is Jerome McGann. rpt. 1980). “The Speaker as Questioner in Lyrical Ballads. in Clark. ed. 2000). in Samuel Johnson. and Jane Austen (Chicago: Chicago University Press. 79 Mary Wollstonecraft.” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 77 (1978): 546-568. 184 . Kari Lokke [Albany. Selected Poetry and Prose. Mary and The Wrongs of Woman. 1975). Culture. 2001]. Mary Shelley. 1984). “Writing Women and the Making of the Modern Middle Class. 42-44. 1997). Fiction. 82 Samuel Johnson. postmarked November 1796 (Pforzheimer. 1792. 83-118. 35. W. The Romantic Ideology (1983).” in Epistolary Histories: Letters. NY: SUNY Press. 192. The best rebuttal I have seen to date is Susan Wolfson. Rambler No. Verhoeven (Charlottesville. 80 Mary Wollstonecraft. MW 43). A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. eds. Frank Brady. M. K. ed.

the word “individualism” often can be glossed “romantic individualism.” especially during the 1790s. ed. 86 Rachel Blau DuPlessis. 91 Though often referred to Descartes’s cogito and Locke’s notion of identity. It has been analyzed in relation to the politics of marriage by Sarah Emsley. ed. Eliza Fenwick’s Secresy fits into this category. Memoirs of Emma Courtney.” in Books and Their Readers in Eighteenth-Century England. 477-498. and in my view responds specifically to his letter of 9 March. “Radical Marriage. The word “individual” means “singular. handwritten date 10 Jan. Janet Todd (New York: Columbia University Press. Marilyn Brooks [Petersborough. Isabel Rivers (New York: St. “The Reading of Philosophical Literature.” and romantic often means “singular. 90 In A Wollstonecraft Anthology. not plural. 3-4. 250) and in a very psychologically distressed undated letter (MH 18 in the Carl Pforzheimer Collection) that clearly responds to Godwin’s critique of her novel. Pforzheimer). Martin’s Press. 165-196. 1982).85 I am distilling comments made by Godwin in his letter to Hays dated 9 March 1796 (reprinted in Mary Hays. Ont. ed.4 (July 1999).” Eighteenth-Century Fiction 11. Writing Beyond the Ending: Narrative Strategies of Twentieth- Century Women Writers (Bloomington. 2000]. I will cite Hays’s letters from Brooks edition. postmark 9 February 96 (MH 13. IN: Indiana University Press. 1985). peculiar” – 185 . 87 Mary Hays to William Godwin. unless I quote from letters such as MH 18 that Brooks did not include. 80-81. 88 John Vladimir Price. 1796. 1989). I am grateful to the Pforzheimer Collection of the New York Public Library for giving me access to these manuscripts. 89 Though I won’t discuss it here. 1796.: Broadview Press.

“Law and Propriety. uncivilized. comes into existence out of a person’s isolation. Conor Cruise O’Brien (New York: Penguin.19. cited hereafter in the text. al. (New York: Macmillan. is that Godwin’s notion of political justice entails the idea that the personal is the political.. et. The best explication of “desynonymy” that I have seen can be found in Barrett Watten. Press. and his own act distinguishes. 1987).82-84.2 (1993). Walter Jackson Bate (Princeton: Princeton Univ. 2003). Sense and Sensibility: Austen on the Cusp of Modernity. 95 David Kaufmann. James Engell. “Desynonymy” is Coleridge’s term for an analysis that distinguishes two ideas confused under one word. 93 Immanuel Kant.” ELH 59. “An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?” (1784). cited hereafter in the text by volume and page number. 385-408.” a singularity and wildness that. should we need any more. The Constructivist Moment: From Material Text to Cultural Poetics (Middletown. 171. CT: Wesleyan Univ. imagination from fancy (Biographia Literaria. 396. 94 Edmund Burke. Lewis White Beck. Reflections on the Revolution in France. 3. Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. 16-25. 1968. 1798. 96 “Justice is a rule of conduct originating in the connection of one percipient being with another” (Godwin 3. Vol.49). 1793. Mark Philp (London: William Pickering. 1790. in On History trans. 97 Evidence of just how indebted the feminist movement is to Enlightenment thinking. ed.or “wild. 1796. Press). 1963). from Charlotte Lennox’s The Female Quixote to Wollstonecraft’s Mary. ed. ed. 1993). 3. 2 vols. 92 William Godwin. I. 186 . famously. 1817. 3 and 4 of Political and Philosophical Writings of William Godwin.

62. W. or Matrimonial Contracts wherein all the questions relating to that subject are ingeniously debated and resolved. For a detailed discussion of Fenwick’s novel. 1986). cited hereafter in the text. 638-9. Quere. Morris Eaves.98 [William Wordsworth. A Treatise of Spousals. Wollstonecraft. 187 . 108 I’m grateful to Sarah Pittock for alerting me to continuities between Richardson’s work and the revolutionary writings I wish to explore. ed. Samuel Taylor Coleridge. 101 George Elliott Howard. 72. On the difference between spousals in the future and spousals in the present. 1686). 45-78. Michael Fischer (Ithaca. 201. “In Quest of the Ordinary.” in Romanticism and Contemporary Criticism. 1904). 634-5. 100 Ralph W. []. see chapter 5. 1798. J. The Wrongs of Woman 192.1 (1985). 107 Michael McKeon articulates the novel’s attempt to elevate bourgeois over aristocratic ideology in The Rise of the Novel. see Emsley 478-479. lines 630. (London: Robert Clavell.339-341 On falsification of wedding vows through publicly uttering them.. 1969). cited hereafter in the text by line number. NY: Cornell University Press. 2nd ed. 99 Stanley Cavell.] Lyrical Ballads.370. 1. “Changes and Constants: Structure in Luther’s Understanding of the Real Presence in the 1520s. 7-32. B. 1st ed. 103 104 See Political Justice 3. ed. A History of Matrimonial Institutions. 102 Henry Swineburne.” Sixteenth Century Journal 16. 31. see chapter 5. pp. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2 vols. Owen (New York: Oxford University Press. see also Stone on the law of “criminal 105 106 conversation” (22-25). 183-213.

1987). Howard Bloch. and Revolution. Clarissa or the History of a Young Lady.” the side “of bourgeois culture” (Moore 151-152). The Victim of Prejudice.109 Samuel Richardson. Women. 1985). 88-112. 127. 114 It is possible to conclude (though Moore doesn’t) that the difference between Wollstonecraft’s and Austen’s novels has to do with artistic skill. 1993). 188 . Insofar as it is really true that. Misandry. Writing. Angus Ross (New York: Penguin.: Broadview Press. 1071. 1790-1827 (New York: Oxford University Press. ed. 1998). Ont. Frances Ferguson (Berkeley: University of California Press. “both sides were really on the same side. Eleanor Ty (Petersborough. 1989). 2nd ed. in the verbal battle between English Jacobins and Anti-Jacobins.” in Misogyny. 1799. whereas one can argue that it is historically locatable. R. 111 112 Armstrong. Press. 110 Frances Ferguson. “Writing Women” 42. Though in Ferguson’s view the problem of being unable to mean what one wishes in social forms has to do with “symbolic systems themselves” (108-9). ed. “Rape and the Rise of the Novel. 131-133. ed. and Misanthropy. Michael McKeon. 115 Mary Hays. Hays’s works could be seen as revealing a romantic enthusiasm inimical to the artistry required for novel writing that provides a sad contrast to Austen’s realistic and ironic wit. The Origins of the English Novel 1600-1740 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. 212. 81.. the difference between Hays’s and Austen’s Emmas is really uninteresting – and perhaps even embarassing to feminists. 113 Gary Kelly.

of Chicago Press. 1995). Richard Holmes (New York: Penguin. “Mary Hays’s ‘Female Philosopher’: Constructing Revolutionary Subjects. Equivocal Beings: Politics. 1994). Kari Lokke (Albany. Jones. Adriana Craciun. Introduction. on Hays’s and Wollstonecraft’s understanding of sentiment and feeling. 345. Radical Sensibility: Literature and Ideas in the 1790s (New York: Routledge. Ont. 118 119 They did marry later. 1987). A Short Residence in Sweden [1796] and Memoirs of the Author of ‘The Rights of Woman’ [1798]. helped me to see the generic features of philosophical romance and distinguish it from the Jacobin political platform. in Memoirs of Emma Courtney. 2004).116 Eliza Fenwick. 258. Adeline Mowbray. Press. L. NY: SUNY Press.” in Rebellious Hearts: British Women Writers and the French Revolution. 1-41. 1993). 122 Miriam. 1976). VA: College Publishing. ed. Gender. ed. 2001). and Sentimentality in the 1790s (Chicago: Univ. for me. Wallace (Glen Allen. the Mother and the Daughter. 267-356. see Miriam Wallace. 4. or. Secresy. after Wollstonecraft became pregnant Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin.: Broadview Press. The Ruin on the Rock. by Mary Hays. B. 1795. 121 I’m grateful to Anne Mellor for insisting that I compare this novel to the others insofar as doing so. or. 189 . Claudia Johnson. 117 “The Avoidance of Love: A Reading of King Lear. by Amelia Alderson Opie.” Must We Mean What We Say? (New York: Cambridge Univ. Wallace. 120 The first book about the revolutionary potential of sensibility is C. ed. ed. Miriam L. Isobel Grundy (Petersborough. 233-260.

Politics. 124 Wallace quotes Roxanne Eberle: that “the individuality of an affection constitutes its chastity” is Wollstonecraft’s ideal (“Amelia Opie’s Adeline Mowbray: Diverting the Libertine Gaze. Adeline Mowbray. 126 Warner does so directly.” Studies in the Novel 26. one composed of an upper-class British woman. which sites the future salvation of the British body politic in a reconstituted family of choice. the Vindication of a Fallen Woman. 145). a working-class freed African slave woman” (Mothers of the Nation: Women’s Political Writing in England. cited hereafter by page number in the text. 2000]. 1798 (New York. The Trouble with Normal: Sex. “One might also look to Amelia Opie’s novel Adeline Mowbray (1802). 125 As Anne Mellor puts it in discussing the utopianism of women’s political writing. 1974). 127 Michael Warner. 128 Appeal to the Men of Great Britain in Behalf of Women. quoted in Wallace 11). but also implicitly: he accuses proponents of same-sex marriage as attempting “to woo marriage” and therefore of participating in the Romance plot as they construct a “revisionist and powerfully homophobic narrative” (95). Garland. For me most striking about this community is that it includes two women who tried to and succeeded in destroying the heroine: their crimes are seen as structural and their corruption thus curable by relocating them in a community with equitable power distribution.. 317. ed. 271-625. or. 1999). or. and the Ethics of Queer Life (New York: Free Press. 190 .2 (1994): 121-54.123 Amelia Alderson Opie. 116. the Mother and the Daughter. a middle-class Quaker woman. in Wallace. Press. 1780-1830 [Bloomington: Indiana Univ. 13.

p. 1935).182. by Mary Hays 130 The “divide” between “difference” and equality feminism is discussed by Ann Snitow in “A Gender Diary. and the Unitarians in England 1760-1860 (New York: Longman. Introduction. 191 . 132 Joseph Priestley. 1817-1832). 1831-51 (New York: St. 25 vols. Gender. Ruth Watts. principal of Warrington Academy). 41.” Ferguson among them. ed. quoted in Gina Lurie. UK: Cambridge Univ. 9-43. She mentions “Scotch philosophers. Kathryn Gleadle and Ruth Watts point out that. in her introduction to Akenside’s Pleasures of the Imagination. Unitarianism was virtually synonymous with Hartleyan associationism and materialism: Kathryn Gleadle. Elizabeth Kraft (Athens. William McCarthy. 5. 1998). The Poems of Anna Letitia Barbauld. Griffiths. Taylor of Norwich (for a short time. 10-11. Dr. Evelyn Fox Keller (New York: Routledge. cited hereafter in the text as Poems. [check citation] 133 Anna Letitia Barbauld. 146). at its inception. 134 Barbauld was familiar with Stewart’s works. Appeal to the Men of Great Britain in Behalf of Women. 1994). GA: Univ. Marianne Hirsch. Religion and Learning: A Study in English Presbyterian Thought from the Bartholomew Ejections (1662) to the Foundation of the Unitarian Movement (Cambridge. 1990). Press. 166-167. 1995). 1. 145. John Mort. 24.” in Conflicts in Feminism. Bretland and Timothy Kentrick (n. 33-7. 131 Olive M.129 Letter to Southey. Giffiths lists the names of those theologians holding this belief: Priestley. The Theological and Miscellaneous Works of Joseph Priestley. Martin’s Press. of Georgia Press. ed. sometime after 1800. (London. The Early Feminists: Radical Unitarians and the Emergence of the Women’s Rights Movement. Power.

cited hereafter in the text by page number. 21-38. A Free Discussion of the Doctrines of Materialism and Philosophical Necessity [London: Johnson. firmly believes that doctrine” (Joseph Priestley. ed. 55. 138 Adam Ferguson. 41. 1778]. xiv).. as such. 1792. ed. Gary Kelly (New York: Oxford. 7 vols. I. since Barbauld explicitly contrasts the insects she has been discussing with “Man. or the hypothesis of the perceptive and thinking powers of man residing in a substance distinct from his body. first published in 1769. nothing more than a provision against a failure in the arguments for the scripture doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. TX: Harcourt Brace. who. as McCarthy maintains.384-385. 139 Mary Hilton. 140 In English Romantic Writers. 1967). Mary Hilton and Pam Hirsch (New York: Longman. 1829.” 136 “The proper advantage derived from the doctrine of a soul. is that it will not be affected by the death of the body.135 I doubt that “th’inferior kind” refers to the lower classes of people. 1976). quoted in Dugald Stewart. and consequently does not affect a Christian. David Perkins (Fort Worth. Mary and The Wrongs of Woman. A Fiction (1788). Principles of Moral and Political Science. v.” in Practical Visionaries: Women. Education and Social Progress 1790-1930. 2000). “‘Child of Reason’: Anna Barbauld and the Origins of Progressive Pedagogy. or Ferguson’s Analysis of Pneumatics and Moral Philosophy (1769). 141 Mary. but will pass into a state of recompence when the body is in the grave. 137 Institutes of Moral Philosophy. in Mary Wollstonecraft. 192 . therefore. Works: Cambridge: Hilliard and Brown. This doctrine is. ed.324-325. in fact. 26-7.

142 As McCarthy argues in “‘We Hoped the Woman was going to Appear’: Repression. Patricia Waugh (New York: Edward Arnold.” in Conflicts in Feminism. G. Paula R. 1995): 113-137. Anne Snitow. Desire. 227. Politics of Friendship. trans. 143 144 Theological Works 3. 145 Dale Johnson. 236-7. Feldman and Theresa M.428. 1992). 146 Anna Letitia Barbauld. 2 vols. 1997). 47. 1992). lxxiv-lxxv. Works. 147 Jacques Derrida. 148 The Enlightenment motto “Have courage to exercise your own understanding. ed. 149 “Loving in Friendship: Perhaps – the Noun and Adverb. The Culture of Sensibility: Sex and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Chicago: Univ. ed.” Romantic Women Writers: Voices and Countervoices. A. cited hereafter in the text. eds. by Friedrich Schiller (Oxford: Clarendon Press. Willoughby in the Introduction to On the Aesthetic Education of Man.” in Politics of Friendship. ed. Barker-Benfield. of Chicago Press. Lucy Aikin (London. and Gender in Anna Letitia Barbauld’s Early Poems.233. George Collins (New York: Verso. Press of New England. a group discussed by Elizabeth Wilkinson and L. Women in English Religion. 1825). 1967). “Deconstructing Equality-versus- 150 Difference. 1983). NH: Univ. II. 26-48. Marianne Hirsch & Evelyn Fox Keller (New York: 193 . cited in Postmodernism.” which appears in Kant’s “What is Enlightenment?” was the motto adopted in 1736 by the Society for the Friends of Truth. 1. Kelley (Hanover. J. “A Gender Diary” and Joan Scott. 90 n. 1700-1925 (New York: Edwin Mellen Press..

152 I am deliberately resisting use of the term “Other” here because there is so much conceptual confusion surrounding it: it is too often reduced to the Imaginary antagonist described below.” in Too Soon. 156 Georg Lukács. 1990). 151 Barbara Taylor. Too Late: History in Popular Culture (Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Has Feminism Changed Science? [Cambridge. Realism in Our Time: Literature and Class Struggle. 200." SubStance 88 (1999): 5-16. “Introduction: History in Cultural Studies. or distinction between equality and difference feminisms.” American Historical Review 96 (1991): 675-708. 1999]). and the necessity of oscillating between the two in order to oppose sexism. “Mary Wollstonecraft and the Wild Wish of Early Feminism. Press. 155 In an article by that title.Routledge. MA: Harvard Univ. John and Necke Mander (New York: Harper & Row. 154 Meaghan Morris. this “divide. “Objectivity is not Neutrality: Rhetoric vs Practice in Peter Novick’s That Noble Dream. for instance. 1964). is now assumed by feminist writers (see.” and then he goes on to contend that it is in fact “the politics of [history’s] disciplinization” that has in fact made “realism effectively identical with 194 .” History Workshop Journal 33 (1992): 197-219. 1998). 153 "Is Literary History the History of Everything?: The Case for 'Antiquarian' History.” History and Theory 29. I think Hayden White would agree with Lukács: White points out that it is in fact the modern discipline of history that “purports to be above politics and at the same time rules out as unrealistic any political program or thought in the least tinged with utopianism. trans.” as Snitow calls it.2 (1990): 129-57. 68. the Introduction to Londa Schiebinger. 6. cited hereafter in the text by page number. see also “AHR Forum: Peter Novick’s That Noble Dream: the Objectivity Question and the Future of the Historical Profession.

J. White insists. 158 The term history.1 (1980): 11. quoted in Hayden White. 1794). “Introduction: Provocations. 4. 14.antiutopianism. 161 162 History and Memory After Auschwitz (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. MA: Harvard University Press. 62-3. ed. The Friends of Liberty: The English Democratic Movement in the Age of the French Revolution (Cambridge. 1979). “comprehends not less what has happened.” in Eighteenth-Century Literary History: An MLQ Reader (Durham. 157 Another way to put this would be to say that what makes bourgeois society only one stop on the road of progress towards communism is that it offers utopianism as a conceptual possibility. 1999). 24-5. p. than the narration of what has happened.C. 159 Marshall Brown. 187. . cited in Albert Goodwin. W. 1999). A Review of some of the Political Events which have occurred in Manchester during the last Five Years (London. Press.” The Philosophy of History. 195 . 1956).” (“Value” 23). quoting Catherine Belsey. N. trans.” PMLA 117. 60. F. 3. is belief in “a world capable of speaking itself . 163 Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida.5 (2002): 1207-1216). “The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality. 1208. Sibree (New York. 1998). G. Hegel says. 160 Cynthia Marshall. 4. “Psychoanalyizing the Pre-Psychoanalytic Subject. . 1987). Shakespeare and the Loss of Eden (New Brunswick: Rutgers. 1997). 1-8.” The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Press. John Caputo (New York: Fordham University Press.” Critical Inquiry 7. What motivates positivistic historians.: Duke Univ.

Press. See “Objectivity and Its Politics. 1997). trans. 2. who insist that psychoanalysis can only become political if transference is disavowed. FL: University of Miami Press. insofar as her reading of an important essay by Dominick LaCapra is correct. Psychoanalytic Criticism. quoted in Romanticism at the End of History (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. so vigorously equated subjectivity with identity as to use the two words interchangeably is. 1993). “Discourses of Impossibility: Can Psychoanalysis Be Political?” Diacritics 23. 5. 196 . 208 n. “Imaginary and Symbolic in Lacan: Marxism.2 (1987): 222-51. 165 I would dispute Elizabeth Bellamy and. Alcoff changes her reading of Foucault. v. Mary E. 1993). 167 Butler (Stanford.” Problems in General Linguistics. Mark Philp (London: William Pickering. early on. 324. and the Problem of the Subject. 166 Lord Byron’s Strength: Romantic Writing and Commercial Society (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. 1971). 168 I get my sense of this distinction from Fredric Jameson. Meek (Coral Gables.” New Literary History 32 (2001): 839. “Subjectivity in Language. CA: Stanford University Press. “Cultural Feminism Versus Poststructuralism: The Identity Crisis in Feminist Theory. ed. 1966. discussing Dominick LaCapra. 3.” Signs 13.” Yale French Studies 55-56 (1977): 338-95. Press. The most influential feminist essay that. vol.3 (Spring 1988): 405-436. 226. 3 of Political and Philosophical Writings of William Godwin. “History and Psychoanalysis.164 William Godwin. 25. Elizabeth Bellamy. 2000). 86. in my view. LaCapra as well. Linda Alcoff.1 (1993): 24-38. In a much more recent essay.” Critical Inquiry 13. 169 Emile Benveniste.

1988). Gina Luria Walker (Petersborough. 222. 2nd ed.” in Feminine Sexuality: Jacques Lacan and the école freudienne. Juliet Mitchell. 1991). CA: Broadview Press. 172 For an analysis of the affect informing Todd’s 2000 biography of Wollstonecraft – sadly. W. 177 The first quotation is. trans..” graduate seminar.” in Psychoanalysis and the Scene of Reading (New York: Oxford University Press. 1982). 171 “Traces of an Accusing Spirit: Mary Hays and the Vehicular State. “Intervention on Transference. 1987.” Studies in Romanticism 20 (1981): 299-316. ed.a. Gino Raymond and Matthew Adamson (Cambridge.: Harvard University Press. 174 Mitzi Myers.ox. “Forget that I Exist. Language and Symbolic Power. 1999).170 Pierre Bourdieu. not millennial – see Susan the second is from Jacques Lacan. “Feminism and Psychoanalysis. Pamela Clemit. ed. I believe. Jacqueline Rose (New York: W. Mary Jacobus. by William Godwin. 1792. 202-234. 21." Romanticism On the Net 25 (February 2002): para. ed. 308. 61-73. trans. 71. in Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Jacqueline Rose.html> 12 September 2002. Fall.. 45. "'Sewing in the Next World': Mary Hays as Dissenting Autodidact in the 1780s. Carol H. Mass. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. 173 Gina Luria Walker. 175 Mary Wollstonecraft. s. 176 A passage added to the second edition of Godwin’s Memoirs. Poston (New York: Norton. Ont. “Godwin’s Memoirs of Wollstonecraft: The Shaping of Self and Subject. 2001). 65.” London Review of Books (30 November 2000): 12-14. Norton. hereafter cited in the text as Clemit and Walker. 109-111. 197 . 214. <http://users.

Godwin closes by saying. Ont.: Broadview Press.” which is to continually question what difference it makes in perlocutionary effects that any given “I” is speaking as a man or a woman at any given time: only then can we deconstruct any “imaginary positivity” that besets us. 39. Letters to Imlay ). 1996]. Only rethinking subjectivity as always already “two” can we begin to undertake what Irigaray calls “the labor of the negative. trans. A Short Residence / Memoirs. be it “male” or “female. 179 Taylor discusses Wollstonecraft’s reiteration of this procedure as part of “the ‘utopian’ wing of eighteenth-century progressivism” founded on “above all – égalité as the foundation for a new morality within human relations” (204). 35-6. 1795. by Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin (New York: Penguin Books. Introduction. 41. 1998) 76-77.178 By “legitimate. Wollstonecraft uses the term “sophisticated” to indicate reasoning corrupted by society throughout her letters. 1925). ed. “We will now. I Love to You. The full context is this: after completing a short letter to Mary Hays. Wedd (London: Methuen. 7 Sept. 181 William Godwin to Mary Hays. 127.” I don’t mean “masculine”: to talk about (female) subjects as subjects of masculine desire – or feminine desire. in The Love-Letters of Mary Hays.” “masculine” or “feminine” (Luce Irigaray. 1987). F. both public and private (Letters on the French Revolution . which is to show that “Human Nature is Two. for that matter – is once again to conflate subjectivity with identity instead of undertaking a better project. return to our old contract: 198 .” to quote the chapter title of a recent book by Irigaray. 180 The argument that this line of “Kubla Khan” refers to the just-published Letters Written in Sweden is made by Richard Holmes. Mary Hays gives an example of how culture leads the reasoning process awry – and she calls it “sophisticated” reasoning – in The Victim of Prejudice (Petersborough. Alison Martin [New York: Routledge. A. 232. if you please. 84.

you shall communicate your sentiments by letter. “Free Association and Analytic Neutrality: The Basic Structure of the Psychoanalytic Situation. Ont. based on her letters after their meetings. 14). 184 It is worth wondering whether the returned letter itself isn’t essentially a psychoanalytic tool. time for self-interpretation. letters returned not to Freud but to the discipline of psychoanalysis 199 . Memoirs of Emma Courtney [Petersborough. Marilyn Butler (New York: New York University Press. I would say. 2000]. the latter having her letters incorporated for her into Godwin’s Memoirs of the Author of the Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Wollstonecraft.” Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 44.4 (1996): 1021-46.: Broadview Press. 27 Nov. Bachant. Janet Todd. 182 Mary Wollstonecraft.. corresponds to analytic neutrality.” It may be that Godwin’s visits were a bit like analytic sessions – at least those more rationalistic parts of psychoanalytic encounters in which one tries to understand the philosophical assumptions underlying one’s own discourse.. Janet L. But I would claim only that. ed. 7 vols. Letter 75. ed. Letters to Gilbert Imlay. 1795 [Todd 434]). what makes Godwin her analyst is primarily the infrequency of his visits.427. 183 The best discussion of this phenomenon that I have seen is Elliot M. rereading it. since its addressee necessarily assumes magisterial silence and since it offers its author. Introduction. which. 25 Sept. Letter LXVI. 1795. Hays and Wollstonecraft either kept copies or were able to get their letters returned to them – the former then incorporating her letters into her novel The Memoirs of Emma Courtney (Marilyn Brooks. in The Works of Mary Wollstonecraft. which is how their meetings sound to me. and I will answer you in person. 1989). It could be argued that the greatest transference neurosis so far documented by psychoanalysts was fundamentally epistolary – Freud’s letters to Fliess. 6. Adler.

1831. insofar as her psychoanalysis failed. not until after the fact. through Marie Bonaparte (James William Anderson. 186 The term “corrective emotional experience” originally comes from Alexander and French whose work gives it a bad name (603). Here we get a sense of the psychoanalytic situation recapitulating or literalizing the fundamentally literary relationship between an author and an anonymous audience. 1999). rpt. page numbers cited hereafter in the text. it did so by thwarting her capacity to form a better future reality for others.” 188 Speaking Into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 190 In his letter to Godwin written to assist Godwin’s writing of the Memoirs. His Nature. “[d]uring her stay in George Street she spent many of her afternoons & most of her 200 .” in Thoughts on Man. 273-298. 609. 189 “Of Love and Friendship.” Psychoanalytic Quarterly 66 (1997): 596-627. by William Godwin (London: Effingham Wilson. “Sigmund Freud’s Life and Work: An Unofficial Guide to the Freud Exhibit.” The Annual of Psychoanalysis 29 [2001]: 19). Productions. 287-8. Joseph Johnson says that. and thereby thwarting her “cure. Kelley. it is in order to distinguish the new understanding of psychoanalysis as a “holding environment” from Alexander and French’s work that Treurniet forms as part of his “ethic of technique” the injunction that the analyst “enable the patient to have a corrective emotional experience without deliberately manipulating the patient” (620). 187 Dora certainly directs Freud to countertransference. 185 Nikolaas Treurniet. 1969).itself. but he does not recognize her metapsychological contribution in her presence. 57. New York: Augustus M. “On an Ethic of Psychoanalytic Technique. and Discoveries.

1794. gen. 1999). “Confidence” is a term repeated by Wollstonecraft in letters VI.evenings with me . 192 “Of Frankness and Reserve. “English State Trials in the 1790s: a Case Study. p. ed. Prochaska. 71 n. vol. 8-9. as I do here. 13 Oct. 191 I quote from Mary Hays’s letters to William Godwin. . New York Public Library. 1795. I am grateful to Jennifer Jones and Charlotte Sussman for suggesting this essay to me. 30. p. 194 “Essay of History and Romance. [W]hen harassed. she was relieved by unbosoming herself & generally returned home calm. 1-30. The Analytic Attitude (New York: Basic Books. 201 198 199 . . Paul Keen. MH 7. vol. 146. frequently in spirits” (Clemit & Walker 163). 294. XIV. The Crisis of Literature in the 1790s: Print Culture and the Public Sphere (New 196 York: Cambridge University Press. Mark Philp. in Clemit and Walker. 197 Mary Hays to William Godwin. “a death blow to the liberty of the press. In The Political and Philosophical Writings of William Godwin. 143-146. . K. 8.” Journal of British Studies 13 (1973). 1 Oct. reprinted in Brooks. Pforzheimer Collection. 302.” Fox to D. I thank them for allowing me to review these materials and quote from them.” in Philp. 233. Memoirs. 290-301. 195 Roy Schafer. 299-313. quoted in F. ed. ed.” in Thoughts on Man. MH 8. Charles Fox called Wakefield’s arrest in 1798 for publication of an anti-war pamphlet. 7 Dec. XXXV. Pforzheimer Collection. Pamela Clemit. 29 July 1798. and Joseph Johnson’s imprisonment for selling (not even printing!) the pamphlet. quoted in Keen 72. currently residing in the Pforzheimer Collection. 1993).. rpt. 5: Educational and Literary Writings. 1983). XI. 74.. which was very often ye case. 1795. O’Bryen. LVIII. ed. 6 Essays 193 (London: William Pickering. by letter number and date: MH 2.

” in 1798: The Year of the Lyrical Ballads. 205 Memoirs 240. 202 Janet Todd. 1998). So frequently are Southey and Roscoe quoted by biographers that references are no longer given.” NASSR. this essay points out that it is connected to its unmaking or analysis of the subject as well. Mary Wollstonecraft: A Revolutionary Life (New York: Columbia University Press. Leonard Tennenhouse and Nancy Armstrong connect revolutionary history to the making of the modern subject. ed. and Psychoanalysis (New York: Routledge. Pforzheimer Collection. 320. 1992). Art. Clemit and Walker 155. 203 For an excellent analysis of this phenomenon which does not in fact de-politicize. 30. 1795. in A Short Residence in Sweden and Memoirs of the Author of the Vindication of the Rights of Woman. 34. 3267. 15 November 1996. 204 In The Imaginary Puritan (Berkeley. 5 Nov. 202 .” in First Things: The Maternal Imaginary in Literature. 63-82. Richard Holmes (New York: Penguin Books.” Keats-Shelley Review 13 (1999): 24-57. “Sexing the Critic: Mary Wollstonecraft at the Turn of the Century. 202-278. Martin’s Press. ed. 207 Nicola Trott. Richard Cronin (New York: St. Godwin quotes Wollstonecraft’s letter to him. “In Love with a Cold Climate: Traveling with Wollstonecraft. CA: Univ. and "Out of Bounds: Epistolary Subjects and 'Scandalous' Memoirs. of California Press. the letter to which he is 201 responding. 2000). 206 Quoted in Amy Rambow. “‘Come Kick Me’: Godwin’s Memoirs and the Posthumous Infamy of Mary Wollstonecraft. 1987). 1995). see Mary Jacobus.200 MH 27.

7 vols. Wollstonecraft. “Forget That I Exist. KS: Univ. eds..” see Albert Goodwin. 11-12. London Review of Books 22.. 203 . Vt. 1794). for attribution of authorship.. Harriet Jump (Brookfield. I. 2. Mary Wollstonecraft: A Critical Biography (Lawrence. 1999) 2. Press. 1989). Chief Justice James Eyre’s worry that the London Corresponding Society was conducting meetings that imitate French assemblies is made clear in The Charge . Both texts are reprinted in William Godwin. Ontario. The Works of Mary Wollstonecraft. 12. ed. Press.: Harvard Univ.” Review of Janet Todd. 211 Susan Eilenberg.: Pickering & Chatto. The Ruin on the Rock. Eaton. 317. Secresy. 1968). The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. 201. Marilyn Butler. 302-303. Ralph Wardle. & Mary Shelley By their Contemporaries. FL: Scholars’ Facsimiles & Reprints. The Friends of Liberty: The English Democratic Movement in the Age of the French Revolution (Cambridge. 212 Janet Todd.208 Anonymous [Archibald Hamilton Rowan?]. To the Grand Jury (London: Daniel Isaac Eaton. . 15. 1803). 129 n. in Lives of the Great Romantics III: Godwin. or. 209 Claire Tomalin. see Jump. (New York: New York Univ. Mass. To Enquire of Certain High Treasons . of Kansas Press. quoted in William Godwin. cited by Isobel Grundy.197-228. 6:435-436. A Defence of the Character and Conduct of the Late Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (London: Wallis. 1994). Mary Wollstonecraft: A Revolutionary Life.23 (30 November 2000): 12-14. 210 On the threatening similarities between the British Convention of 1793 and “French Revolutionary forms of address. Uncollected Writings (1785-1822) (Gainseville. 1974). . ed. by Eliza Fenwick (Peterborough. Cursory Strictures on the Charge Delivered by Lord Chief Justice Eyre (London: D. 1979). Introduction xix. . 1951). 1794). . quoted in Trott 34. CA: Broadview Press. 3 vols.

214 On the connection between the Romantic period and the emergence of character representations with psychological depth.” Eighteenth-Century Fiction 11. of Chicago Press. A History of Matrimonial Institutions. “Radical Marriage. Carol Poston (New York: W. 3). 219 Sarah Emsley. and were later legalized. 2nd ed. 482. Emsley notes that Secresy and Godwin’s Memoirs are both concerned with marriage as a social contract (482-483). not. 333. see Deirdre Lynch.4 (July 1999): 477-498. 2000). Outhwaite. 215 Mary Wollstonecraft. Mary Wollstonecraft: A Revolutionary Life (New York: Columbia Univ. I benefitted tremendously from Emsley’s article. Work. 1. ed. but she is ultimately interested in how the politics of marriage law affects marriage. Women. 216 Quoted in George Elliott Howard. Marriage and Society (1981).449 n. 1998).213 Eilenberg 12. 1904). 218 Hill 206-7.” one chapter of her The Economy of Character: Novels. after the Act was passed. (Chicago: Univ. 25. of Chicago Press. B. as I am concerned here.348. Norton. 1989).. Howard points out that. which includes an analysis of Secresy and compares it to Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. due to the fact that Lord Hardwicke’s Act did not apply to royalty (1. two “royal” marriages were performed clandestinely. “‘Round Characters and RomanticPeriod Reading Relations. 204 . and Sexual Politics in Eighteenth-Century England (New York: Basil Blackwell. W. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Janet Todd. 204-206. 327. Press. 217 Bridget Hill. and the Business of Inner Meaning (Chicago: Univ. Hill quotes R. Market Culture. with how alternate conceptions of marriage affects people’s understanding of politics. ed. 1988). 123-163. 13. 3 vols.

223 Michael McKeon. P. and decrease in proportion of men and women who never married] would have reduced the number of extramarital conceptions. 198. and Community in England 1700-1880 (London: Junction Books. 205 . Ceremony. pre-nuptial pregnancy was to become the condition of 40 percent of all brides. 197. 1982). 1991). Only in half of these cases did the couple marry before the child was born. . Press. trans. 1750-1850 (1986). 46. 221 222 The Autobiography of Francis Place (1771-1854).5 (29 March 1984). 224 “In the course of the eighteenth century. Peter Stallybrass and Allon White. Press. By Rite: Custom. 109. 225 Hill 181. Press. leaving the rest — a quarter of all first births — as bastards abandoned by their fathers . . 131-133. but in fact the reverse occurred. Bob Bushaway. There must have been a major change in moral attitudes toward premarital sex” “The New Eighteenth Century. 1987).” Past and Present 50 (1971): 76- 136. Mass.220 E.” Lawrence Stone asserts in discussing the period between 1680 and 1800: “the proportion of first conceptions out of wedlock rose from 12 percent to a staggering 50 percent. 226 Language and Symbolic Power.: Harvard Univ. quoted in Hill 181. (1972). 81-82. Matthew Adamson (Cambridge. 1986). Records suggest that it increased after 1740" (Hill 181). Thomson. quoting John Rule. . “The Moral Economy of the English Crowd.” New York Review of Books 31. Gino Raymond. “One would have expected that both trends [decreased age in marriage. The Origins of the English Novel 1600-1740 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. The Politics and Poetics of Transgression (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. The Labouring Classes in Early Industrial England.

4. an “Address to the Nation” had been approved by the over 100.” he says.] to eminent credit” (Cursory Strictures 20). A Modern History of France: 1. which should overawe the Legislative Body. 23. 144-145. as will be demonstrated. and respect for a proposition comes from. Press. Goodwin 387. . 4. Godwin insists that there is a difference between. 1963). 229 230 Skirving. Oct. . and extort a Parliamentary Reform from it. . Goodwin 386. In defending those charged with treason. 153. and Gerrald were convicted and sentenced (A. . quoted and summarized by A. p. 7. . 231 Account of the Proceedings . collecting together a Power. A. it was their duty to attend to it’ or else incur the guilt of high treason against the people” (Account of the Proceedings . the rhetorical power to persuade: “Awe in its true acceptation has always been understood to mean deference or respect. quoted in A.” and second. 228 Alfred Cobban. . 1962).000 present which “had reminded [Parliamentary] ministers that ‘when the voice of a united people went forth. 232 233 36 Geo. first.” and. Goodwin 385.: Harvard Univ.227 How to Do Things With Words (Cambridge. Judge Eyre wondered “[w]hether . on the one hand. at Copenhagen House in Islington. . “armed power and military force. . In the Treason Trials of 1794. summarized by A. p. 1795. . “its universality. III c. . At an earlier meeting on 26 October 1795. Mass. will also amount to High Treason” (13). 26. Margarot. Goodwin 385. suggests the political import of any performative. Oct. 26. from the sense that those among whom the proposition is universally held are “bodies of men intitled [sic. 206 . Goodwin 305-6). 1795. 1715-1799 (New York: Viking Penguin. . on the other..

1711). I am grateful to William Wortman of King Library and Karen Jones of Archives at Ohio University Libraries for tracking down this document for me. .” The New York Review of Books [12 April 1990]: 47).” since it says.340-344. 207 . Clarendon Press. Brown.234 “Until far down into the eighteenth century the engaged lovers before the nuptials were held to be legally husband and wife. 1686). 236 Henry Swinburne. Howard 1. Clavell’s title page indicates Swinburne’s renown as a “speech act theorist. . Henry Swinburne. author of the Treatise of wills and testaments. . . that are barely legitimate at all. 374-375). 238 The Offices. which really means cheating on one’s U. using “tax shelters. 235 On the difference between sponsalia de praesenti and sponsalia de futuro. taxes. According to the United Church of England and Ireland. [1801]). (Oxford.” for instance. “by the late famous and learned Mr. (London: D. see Emsley 478-9. 2nd ed.” 237 I include personal hypocrisy here insofar as such “personal” choices are influenced by widespread approbation of certain kinds of hypocrisy — for instance. this custom in part surviving until our own times” (Howard. and the so-called ‘bride-children’ were given rights of legitimate offspring. for the Solemnization of Matrimony.” quoted by Jean Starobinski in “Rousseau in the Revolution. This view fits into Rousseau’s notion that “no people would ever be other than the nature of their government made them” (“Political Institutions. It was common for them to begin living together immediately after the betrothal ceremony.S. or Matrimonial Contracts: Wherein all the Questions Relating to that Subject are Ingeniously Debated and Resolved (London : Robert Clavell. A Treatise of Spousals.

Education.. Michael Mason (New York: Longman. 241 As Grundy points out. 1979). in. Letters to Mary Hays (1798-1828). 8). 231-234. 240 “In Quest of the Ordinary: Texts of Recovery. 153-166. 1986). The answers that Cavell provides to his own question. 6. 1805.” line 618.1-237. 204. F. quoted in Emsley 483. if not his superior. in Lyrical Ballads. A.” in Romanticism and Contemporary Criticism. 245 An Historical and Moral View of the Origin and Progress of the French Revolution. eds. Heather Glen. 1794. esp. see Grundy’s Introduction to Secresy. which he sees the Mariner as enacting.239 Samuel Taylor Coleridge. [1927]). 201. 1992). and Romanticism: Reading as a Social Practice. John Fenwick visited Paris in 1793 with letters from English radicals to the National Convention and a copy of Political Justice (Introduction to Secresy. Press. “Children’s Literature and the Work of Culture. 1780-1832 (New York: Cambridge Univ. Wedd (London: Methuen. 258. “How does the Mariner’s tale compete with marriage?” have to do with the effect upon intimate relationships of philosophical skepticism. Morris Eaves. ed. Press. ed. Alan Richardson. 1983). 246 The Claim of Reason (New York: Oxford Univ.” in Literature. 1994). Michael Fischer (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. 208 . As is made clear in Elizabeth Fenwick’s letters to Mary Hays. Vision and Disenchantment: Blake’s Songs and Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads (New York: Cambridge Univ. 242 243 244 For a full discussion of the novel’s views on education. she was her husband’s intellectual companion and equal. given that she “helped him” complete translations for which he got paid (The Fate of the Fenwicks. “The Ancient Mariner: A Poet’s Reverie. 109. Todd. ed. Press. Press.

Darkness Visible (New York: Random House. In speaking of the “Truths” of “Intuition. 1953-1966). 1995).247 William Godwin. 1989). See also Letter 56: “My dearest friend! I cannot tear my affections from you — and.” An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. 24 vols. The Pickering Masters. 4. 249. Peter H. and all those portions of the letters in which she mentions her “wounds. Leon S. Roudiez (New York: Columbia. 16-17. ed. John Haslam lists sleeplessness and manic thinking as symptoms of the disease. 14. Political Justice 3.” Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud.472. till I make allowance for the very defects of character that have given such a cruel stab to my peace” (419). 7 v. 14. Mark Philp (London: William Pickering. ed. 248 Godwin. I think of you. Black Sun: Depression and Melancholy. Political and Philosophical Writings.” John Locke says: “This part of Knowledge is irresistible. forces it self immediately to be perceived.” in First Things: The Maternal Imaginary in Literature. 209 .” 252 Sigmund Freud. 251 428. Rivington.308. “Mourning and Melancholia. 1990). ed. . and like the bright Sun-Shine. p. trans..239-258. 253 William Styron. Observations on Insanity [later retitled Observations on Madness and Melancholy] (London: F. . 47. 1798). though every remembrance stings me to the soul. as soon as ever the Mind turns its view that way .2. Mark Philp. and Psychoanalysis (New York: Routledge. . James Strachey (London: Hogarth Press. 250 See also Mary Jacobus’s analysis of the role of the dead mother in Wollstonecraft’s suicidal depressions (“In Love with a Cold Climate: Travelling with Wollstonecraft. An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice.. Art. 63-82. 1975). Nidditch (Oxford: Clarendon Press. 249 Julia Kristeva. ed. and C. 1973) 3.1. 531.

desires to throw herself overboard but does not want to abandon Fanny (418). respect for yourself will make you take care of the child. that it hits its mark. George Levine’s introduction to Aesthetics & Ideology. 257 “Caught in the Curve. the thing-in-itself. gives an overall view of “the radical transformation of in literary study” precipitated by charges against the aesthetic (1). the extra-linguistic noumenal thing that is. This phrase is the title of a book of essays by Paul de Man: he and his followers argue that 258 aestheticizing any text is a defensive maneuver. Adieu! God bless you!” (432). 210 . in Kantian terms as revised by Heidegger. calling her essays on the connections between maternity and melancholia First Things (see note 244).254 Biographers only write of two suicide attempts. 1-28. ends with: “When I am dead. to all culturally acquired forms of knowing. under sail on the ship. but a letter written shortly after the second suicide attempt on 10 October 1795. 1990). I write with difficulty — probably I shall never write to you again. is obvious when she later. NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press. forever lost. a way of warding off an incipient awareness of the radical contingency of meaning – that it exists. but also thereby impervious to all categories for knowing — in other words. MA: Basil Blackwell. 1994). for instance 26-28. Mary Jacobus picks up on Kristeva’s idea. alas. 100.2 (8 February 2001): 22-24. George Levin (New Brunswick. taking her daughter with her. 255 That she is not imagining herself committing a homicide-suicide. ed. 256 Kristeva connects the melancholic’s refusal to relinquish a connection with a lost mother to the philosophical search for das Ding (Black Sun 13-15). Terry Eagleton’s The Ideology of the Aesthetic presents a nuanced view of its politics (Cambridge.” The New York Review of Books 48.

1999). trans. W.. 261 Mary Wollstonecraft. for them being virtuous entails subscribing to a certain method universally applied rather than adhering to allegedly universal principles. that is. Multicultural Politics (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. The Fabric of Affect in the Psychoanalytic Discourse. Roudiez (New York: Columbia Univ. Lacan and the Matter of Origins (Stanford. Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. 804. 2nd ed. Press. 1997). His position is reiterated in “Can Our Values Be Objective? On Ethics. 262 André Green. 260 Literary Theory and the Claims of History: Postmodernism. CA: Stanford Univ. Aesthetics. trans. and Progressive Politics. of 1792. is procedural rather than substantive and so Habermasian (Amanda Anderson. 100.” based upon their indebtedness to Catherine Macaulay. Here. Though the mother figures in Freud’s metapsychology. 1780-1830. Press. 2nd. Ed. 25-26. see Green. 1982. 90-110.4 (2001): 803-833. Norton. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Julia Kristeva. cited hereafter by page number in the text). he does not theorize the pre-Oedipal as do post-classical 211 . 1980. ed. 74. 1988). The Way We Argue Now [Princeton: Princeton Univ. 2006]. 1999). Anne Mellor argues that the writers considered in this book participated “directly in the emancipatory project of enlightened rationality celebrated by Habermas” (142). I would agree. Press. Alan Sheridan (New York: Routledge. I argue that the way these writers defined “virtue. 264 On Jones. Leon S.” New Literary History 32. Mellor focuses on their participation in the public sphere and in resisting their own imbrication in the private. Objectivity.259 In Mothers of the Nation: Women’s Political Writing in England. Carol Poston (New York: W. 1973. Press. which I quote here. 263 Shuli Barzilai.

Winnicott. “Beautiful and Sublime: ‘Gender Totemism’ in the Constitution of Art.” International Review of Psycho-Analysis 10 (1983): 379-392. 272 Frances Ferguson.” in Studies in Eighteenth-Century British Art and Aesthetics. 267 D. Evelyne Schwaber. 1757. Norton. Nikolaas Treurniet. 128-147. 1972. 1977).” Psychoanalytic Quarterly 65 268 (1997): 596-627). 21-56. “Legislating the Sublime. 269 Mary Wollstonecraft. 29. 184. 265 Jacques Lacan. Paul Mattick. In her Vindication of the Rights of Men. MA: Harvard Univ. trans.4 (1993): 873-891. Introduction. ed. 271 John Berger.W. “Psychoanalytic Listening and Psychic Reality. Ralph Cohen (Berkeley: Univ. 1960). A Vindication of the Rights of Men. questioning especially his association of beauty with weakness (111-112). “What is Psychoanalysis Now?” International Journal of Psychoanalysis 74. 270 Edmund Burke. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. 1987). FL: Scholars’ Facsimiles. 1977). trans. of California Press. Playing and Reality (London: Tavistock. 1996). Press. 1973. W. 121. Terrors and Experts (Cambridge.psychoanalytic theorist. Alan Sheridan (New York: W. “Freud and Love: Treatment and its Discontents. Roudiez (New York: Columbia Univ. 1983. 1790 (Gainseville. 1971). Ways of Seeing (London: British Broadcasting Corp. A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful.” in Feminism and 212 . 1985). Wollstonecraft directly addresses some of Burke’s statements in the Sublime and Beautiful.. “On an Ethic of Psychoanalytic Technique. New York: Penguin Books. a charge she reiterates in the second Vindication.” in Tales of Love. Press. Leon S. 266 Julia Kristeva. See Nikolaas Treurniet. Adam Phillips.

Press. Formal Charges (Stanford. 273 John Berger does a much better job of separating his political critique from traditions of understanding and interpreting art from artworks themselves than is found. Dispatches from the Freud Wars (Cambridge. and Terry Eagleton. 274 Susan Wolfson. Press. MA: Harvard Univ. 244. Eagleton 54. 213 . PA: Penn. for instance. 1996). Carolyn Korsmeyer (University Park. ed. in the collection of essays edited by Hal Foster called The Anti-Aesthetic. Peggy Zeglin Brand. s. Wolfson argues that arguments made via form during the Romantic era levy charges against contemporaneous political reaction. Press. 12. 276 John Forrester. 275 Jeanette Winterson. CA: Stanford Univ. 1995). Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery (New York: Alfred A. 1997). 1997). 27-48. State Univ.Tradition in Aesthetics.a. Knopf. Jerome McGann. In contrast to critics such as Antony Easthope.

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