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Title: Woman's right to revelation : literary representations of spiritual sensibility in the writings of Hannah More, Mary Wollstonecraft, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Mary Baker Eddy
Author: Ingham, Arleen Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 2677 8208
Awarding Body: University of Hull
Current Institution: University of Hull
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis will explore the philosophical writing of four female reformers, identifying how their spiritual representations of the feminine attempted to authorise and empower women. It will critically investigate how Hannah More, Mary Wollstonecraft, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Mary Baker Eddy challenged historical identity formations, textually communicating a spiritual role for women through a language of patriotism and piety. Discourse which emphasised public virtue and domestic duty as areas of female concern highlighted the potential for female influence in the private and public sphere. It was that eighteenth-century phenomenon, the cult of sensibility, and its emphasis on benevolence, sympathy and a heightened state of consciousness, however, which significantly reinforced an appreciation of the feminine, and female reformers took advantage of the literary space this 'cult' made available to them. Championing the benefits of well educated Christian women, More, Wollstonecraft, Stanton and Eddy constructed an idiom through which to represent the spiritual equality of the male and female. An innovative critical route will reveal the means through which they promoted their plausible alternative to religious arguments for female subjection. The thesis will critically analyse their writings, identifying the religious threads, which it will suggest underpinned their arguments. In spite of the parallels in their perspectives, however, there is an exciting diversity. Four authors: two British, two American; two eighteenth-century, two nineteenth-century; and possibly even more crucial, two feminist and two anti-feminist perspectives, all indicate the inevitably challenging nature of this topic. It is important to make clear at the outset, however, that the critical interrogatory route will be focused quite specifically towards 'The Woman Question.' Because each woman made an indelible mark on the historical landscape, their ultimate achievements will be identified in the first instance.
Supervisor: Sanders, Valerie Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: English