In Romanticism, Maternity, and the Body Politic, Julie Kipp examines Romantic writers' treatments of motherhood and maternal bodies in the context of the legal, medical, educational and socioeconomic debates about motherhood so popular during the period. She argues that these discussions turned the physical processes associated with mothering into matters of national importance. The privately shared space signified by the womb or the maternal breast were made public by the widespread interest in the workings of the maternal body. These private spaces evidenced for writers of the period the radical exposure of mother and child to one another - for good or ill. Kipp's primary concern is to underline the ways that writers used representations of mother-child bonds as ways of naturalizing, endorsing and critiquing Enlightenment constructions of interpersonal and intercultural relations. This fascinating literary and cultural study will appeal to all scholars of Romanticism.
Julie Kipp is Assistant Professor of English at Hope College in Michigan. She is the author of articles on Robert Browning, Friedrich Schlegel, and Maria Edgeworth.
Acknowledgements; Introduction: naturally bad or dangerously good: romantic-period mothers 'on trial'; 1. Revolutions in mothering: theory and practice; 2. A love too thick: gothic mothers and monstrous sympathies; 3. The Irish wet nurse: Edgeworth's Ennui; 4. Infanticide in an age of enlightenment: Scott's The Heart of Midlothian; 5. The case of the Shelleys: maternal sympathy and The Cenci; Postscript; Notes; Bibliography; Index.