Romantic women's life writing

Reputation and afterlife

By Susan Civale

Romantic women's life writing


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-0116-7
  • Pages: 304
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: March 2019
  • BIC Category: Literature, Romanticism, Literary studies: plays & playwrights, Literary studies: c 1900 to c 2000, Gender studies: women & girls, LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 19th Century, LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Society & social sciences / Gender studies: women, Literature & literary studies / General


This book explores how the publication of women's life writing influenced the reputation of its writers and of the genre itself during the long nineteenth century. It provides case studies of Frances Burney, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Robinson and Mary Hays, four writers whose names were caught up in debates about the moral and literary respectability of publishing the 'private'. Focusing on gender, genre and authorship, this study examines key works of life writing by and about these women, and the reception of these texts. It argues for the importance of life writing-a crucial site of affective and imaginative identification-in shaping authorial reputation and afterlife. The book ultimately constructs a fuller picture of the literary field in the long nineteenth century and the role of women writers and their life writing within it.



1 'Nothing is so delicate as the reputation of a woman': Frances Burney's Diary (1842-46) and the reputation of women's life writing
2 'A man in love': Revealing the unseen Mary Wollstonecraft
3 'Beyond the power of utterance': Reading the gaps in Mary Robinson's Memoirs (1801)
4 'By a happy genius, I overcame all these troubles': Mary Hays and the struggle for self-representation
Coda: Virginia Woolf's Common Reader essays and the legacy of women's life writing

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