Drawing on three decades of feminist scholarship bent on rediscovering lost and abandoned women writers, Susan Staves provides a comprehensive history of women's writing in Britain from the Restoration to the French Revolution. This major work of criticism also offers fresh insights about women's writing in all literary forms, not only fiction, but also poetry, drama, memoir, autobiography, biography, history, essay, translation and the familiar letter. Authors celebrated in their own time and who have been neglected, and those who have been revalued and studied, are given equal attention. The book's organisation by chronology and its attention to history challenge the way we periodise literary history. Each chapter includes a list of key works written in the period covered, as well as a narrative and critical assessment of the works. This magisterial work includes a comprehensive bibliography and list of prevalent editions of the authors discussed.
Susan Staves is Paul Prosswimmer Professor of Humanities Emerita at Brandeis University.
Introduction; 1. Public women: the Restoration to the death of Aphra Behn, 1660-1689; 2. Partisans of virtue and religion, 1689-1702; 3. Politics, gallantry, and ladies in the reign of Queen Anne 1702-1714; 4. Battle joined, 1715-1737; 5. Women as members of the literary family, 1737-1756; 6. Bluestockings and sentimental writers, 1756-1776; 7. Romance and comedy, 1777-1789; Recommended modern editions; Select bibliography.