Annotated Bib Due next Wednesday on Segment II (Burney, Wollstonecraft, or Anon.)


As we discussed in class, we’ll do a second, slightly more ambitious annotated bibliography next week.

  • Choose one writer from this segment: Burney, Wollstonecraft, or Anon. (Woman of Colour)
  • Select three peer-reviewed, relevant items that relate to a particular topic in one of those novels; you might want to consider potential topics connected to your final project at this point;
  • you may use the Broadview resources as a starting point for your research, but try to go beyond them, too;
  • Make sure that you’ve got some chronological range pre- and post-2000 for your items; if you’re doing Woman of Colour, just make sure you’ve got some chronological spread in the items available;
  • Annotations should be about 3-5 sentences each;
  • Do it as a standalone post on the blog by 9 pm Wednesday before class;
  • We’ll discuss results next Thursday, and you’ll follow up the next week with a 300-500 word reflective essay on your results and discussions;

If you have questions, put ’em on the blog in the comments.

See you soon,


UPDATE: Missing: Robinson, Maillet [excused]


Author: Dave Mazella

I am an Associate Professor of English at the University of Houston, Department of English, specializing in 18th-century British literature.

One thought on “Annotated Bib Due next Wednesday on Segment II (Burney, Wollstonecraft, or Anon.)”

  1. As usual, I cannot seem to find a way to add this blog to my list of “Sites” that I have access to for publishing. Thus, I will post my annotated bibliography here as a comment. (I will also e-mail you, Dr. Mazella).

    Unsurprisingly, I was drawn to issues of gender and sexuality in Wollstonecraft’s “The Wrongs of Women.” Specifically, in this instance, the issue of motherhood and maternity. It is fascinating as well as tragic that, despite all her writings on the importance of maternity, Wollstonecraft died mere days after giving birth to her second daughter.


    Berges, Sandrine. “Mothers and Independent Citizens: Making Sense of Wollstonecraft’s Supposed Essentialism.” Philosophical Papers, Vol. 43, No. 3 (November 2013): p. 259-284.

    Berges sets out on a redemption of Wollstonecraft from common critique of her sentiments as essentialist and problematically anti-feminist. Her first move is to establish that Wollstonecraft may have been operating not under a liberal tradition of “self-ownership” but rather under a republican tradition of “non-domination.” As women more often find themselves in the position of primary caregiver, Berges argues that Wollstonecraft sees the imperative of good motherhood as more related to that of duty and good citizenship than as indicative of an essential maternity. Like other critics, she also invokes Wollstonecraft’s argument that maternity and breast-feeding will actually afford women more independence, as nursing was known to act as a natural contraceptive and thus allow women more freedom to pursue intellectual improvement and interests. Berges does, however, acknowledge Wollstonecraft’s suggestion that women who choose not to breast-feed should be shunned into compliance with “good” motherhood and, it follows, “good citizenship.” Ultimately, Berges suggests that Wollstonecraft’s vision of heterosexual relationships involving children was progressive, even recognizable in the contemporary habits: two adults, respecting of each other’s intellects, sharing the duties of parenting and citizenship within a relationship formed more of affection and companionship than of fleeing sexual desire.

    Field, Corinne. “Breast-Feeding, Sexual Pleasure, and Women’s Rights: Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication.” Critical Matrix. Vol. 9, No. 2 (1995): p. 25 – 37.

    Field reconstructs both the cultural and critical context surrounding Wollstonecraft’s Vindication, noting that many scholars have focused on Wollstonecraft’s apparently anti-sexuality sentiments as damaging to feminist movements. She focuses here particularly on the breast, which Wollstonecraft envisioned as symbolic both of women’s balance of sexual and reason, arguing that Wollstonecraft saw the natural act of breastfeeding as a natural mediating state of marriage; Wollstonecraft cited the lowered chances of conception during breastfeeding as a biological check against women becoming beleaguered with children and incapable of devoting their time or talents to the public sphere. Though the “natural” state of breastfeeding was later used to justify the consigning of women to the private and domestic sphere, Field argues that Wollstonecraft was, far from endorsing this view, rather attempting to reclaim women’s bodies from the exclusive use of male desire.

    Greenfield, Susan C. “The Maternal Bosom: Sexual Difference and Custody in The Wrongs of Woman; or, Maria.” Mothering Daughters: Novels and the Politics of Family Romance, Frances Burney to Jane Austen. Wayne State UP, 2003. p. 79-106.

    In this chapter, Greenfield focuses her larger examination of maternity in 18th century novels on Wollstonecraft’s Rights and Wrongs of women. Greenfield finds that Wollstonecraft’s ideas of maternity and maternal embodiment were inconsistent and, in their inconsistency, marshalled to attack misogyny from several angles. Historically, the book suggests, the cultural fixation on maternity and breast-feeding were connected to the growing view of women’s biological difference and essence. Though this chapter suggests that much of the discourse—including Wollstonecraft’s—centered on maternity and nursing as markers of class, morality, and citizenship, Greenfield ultimately unearths a pro-feminist and proto-homosocial bent in The Wrongs of Woman. By demonstrating how conceptions of maternity differed based on the sex of the baby, the class of the mother, and the wishes of the father, Greenfield’s analysis of Maria suggests that Wollstonecraft envisions a liberating future for women in which they “reject the family that enslaves them, forego heterosexual relationships, and unite around their shared need to mother and be mothered” (99).


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