Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 August 2020
The 1790s was a decade in which women made extensive contributions to the literary world and in which many of these women took up positions critical of the status quo. This chapter explores the case for seeing the emergence of an intensive set of relationships between those associated with the vanguard of literary exploration and feminism. In particular, the connections between Wollstonecraft, Inchbald, Hays, Alderson, Robinson, Fenwick, Smith and others are explored. Developing the argument of the previous chapter, this argues that the degree of contact and intimacy is not extensive and shows that it becomes so only towards the end of the decade and involving a very narrow group. This chapter also raises the question of how far there is a perception of a group of radical women in elite and loyalist literary culture, and points to the rather undiscriminating character of the references to such a group and to the very limited forms of attack used against those identified as key protagonists.