Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-45s75 Total loading time: 0.273 Render date: 2021-12-01T07:49:48.817Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Afterword

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 October 2019

Get access

Summary

HOWEVER we define their material turn, it is clear that the affective relations between matter and mind played an important role in the educational, devotional and charitable practices of women writers in the late eighteenth century. The associational world, both imagined and externally manifested, is written into their texts in highly purposeful ways. Whether to cultivate feelings of habitual devotion, vitalise Anglican spirit or activate the critical imagination, the configurations of Enlightenment described in this book participate in the construction of a domestic ideology founded on environmentally grounded notions of human subjectivity. We have seen that women's experimental and domestic practices moved out of the home in innovative forms and to various spaces of social, religious and political activity. Women writers, I have argued, played a key role in the development of psychology in Romantic Britain and Ireland. As Barbauld's sensible objects, the Edgeworths’ experimental science of education, More's associations and disassociations, and Hamilton's clearing and rebuilding each suggest, ideas in the late-Enlightenment science of mind did not arise in isolation from practice – they were products of circumstance, gaining new meaning as they migrated between individuals, through networks and across fields. The history of ideas and the history of practice do not merely run parallel to and intersect with each other, but continuously merge together.

The domestic and familiar associationism popularised to a significant extent by Barbauld enabled others to envisage Enlightenment practices as a means of engagement with the life-force of the nation, and not only through the education of children. The charitable model More helped popularise impacted significantly on women's movement into the socialised public sphere in the longer term. We might recognise a trace of this in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse when Mrs Ramsay seeks to impress on her daughters the duty of providing succour to the lighthouse men, painting for them the desolation of life on the rock while knitting stockings for the lighthouse keeper's son. Such activity allows Mrs Ramsay to imagine an existence beyond that of ‘a private woman’ for whom charity is ‘half a sop to her own indignation, half a relief to her own curiosity’, and towards self-identification as ‘what with her untrained mind she highly admired, an investigator, elucidating the social problem’.

Type
Chapter
Information
Material Enlightenment
Women Writers and the Science of Mind, 1770–1830
, pp. 231 - 236
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2018

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Afterword
  • Joanna Wharton
  • Book: Material Enlightenment
  • Online publication: 15 October 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781787443303.007
Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

  • Afterword
  • Joanna Wharton
  • Book: Material Enlightenment
  • Online publication: 15 October 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781787443303.007
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Afterword
  • Joanna Wharton
  • Book: Material Enlightenment
  • Online publication: 15 October 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781787443303.007
Available formats
×