Chosen by Choice Magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title
Until recently, history writing has been understood as a male enclave from which women were restricted, particularly prior to the nineteenth century. The first book to look at British women writers and their contributions to historiography during the long eighteenth century, British Women Writers and the Writing of History, 1670-1820, asks why, rather than writing history that included their own sex, some women of this period chose to write the same kind of history as men—one that marginalized or excluded women altogether. But as Devoney Looser demonstrates, although British women's historically informed writings were not necessarily feminist or even female-focused, they were intimately involved in debates over and conversations about the genre of history.
Looser investigates the careers of Lucy Hutchinson, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Charlotte Lennox, Catharine Macaulay, Hester Lynch Piozzi, and Jane Austen and shows how each of their contributions to historical discourse differed greatly as a result of political, historical, religious, class, and generic affiliations. Adding their contributions to accounts of early modern writing refutes the assumption that historiography was an exclusive men's club and that fiction was the only prose genre open to women.
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