"Translating Revolution into Spanish: British Romanticism and the Spanish-Speaking World" offers ways of teaching British Romanticism through the lens of human rights. The proposed course covers the pamphlet wars of the 1790s in Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, Thomas Paine’s The Rights of Man, and Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindications of the Rights of Woman. Students also consider abolitionist literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Hannah More’s "Slavery, A Poem," and Leonora Sansay’s Secret History; or, The Horrors of St. Domingo. The goal of this approach is to address the cultural amnesia regarding the history of slavery and enslaved peoples, and to broaden students’ understanding of the era’s independence movements by introducing historical documents from Latin and South America.
The essays on Teaching Global Romanticism collected here present varied approaches to teaching Romanticism in a global context through individual assignments, units, and syllabi. The contributors share ways to enrich pedagogical approaches to Romantic literature and culture with texts and ideas from beyond Britain and America. These essays discuss how literature guides students’ engagement with international themes and issues in the Romantic period and after. The initiative for this volume began under the leadership of William Stroup.
Readings for "Literature and Culture of the Romantic Period: The Logic of Culture"
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. —That to secure these rights,
This paper describes a course that covers the Romantic period of European and American literature as the moment and site of the modern invention and institution of “culture”—both as an object of study and as a historical and ethical basis for the establishment of self and society. During a 15-week semester, the students and I read, in English, aesthetic treatises by Blair, Herder, and Schiller, poetry by Macpherson and Byron, and novels by Rousseau, Goethe, Staël, and Cooper. These texts are supplemented by theoretical work on the logic of culture in the modern era and the condition of the modern university. Our primary concerns are to enjoy the rich complexities of these literary projects, to understand their role in establishing culture as a new model of authority and identity, and to perceive the centrality of Romanticism in shaping current cultural paradigms and dilemmas.
Introduction: Mary Wollstonecraft Even Now
This essay theorizes the conceptual and iconic power of the feminist meme, from Mary Wollstonecraft's writing and reception to twenty-first-century presidential and election politics in the age of the internet.
"Care: For Wollstonecraft" situates the feminist legacy of Wollstonecraft’s life works in contemporary discourses and practices of care in order to foreground the still-radical implications of her concepts of mothering, women’s writing, and passional activism. Fictional works frame her critiques of marriage within the broad context of care, both for impoverished communities and against the social institutions that diminish especially women’s capacities to care. Nonfictional and fictional works posit the linkage between women’s writing and good mothering as the chief vehicle of psychosocial reform, one that, in textualizing the biological and personalizing the sociopolitical, greatly expands notions of what a mother is and what good-enough mothering entails. At the same time, the essay argues that caring for Wollstonecraft involves confronting the severe hazards that this linkage created for Wollstonecraft and her progeny as a way of underscoring both why care is neither a safe topic nor a safe practice and why Wollstonecraft’s feminism is not as heteronormative or bourgeois as frequently is alleged.
This essay takes up the longstanding association between Wollstonecraft, feminism, and joylessness via feminist critic Sara Ahmed’s ironic appropriation of the term “feminist killjoy.” I argue that Wollstonecraft’s specific claim to being a killjoy can be traced to the mid-twentieth century, when two American ego psychologists, obsessed with what they called Wollstonecraft’s “twisted personality,” seized on her personal biography with a determined vengeance in their book Modern Woman: The Lost Sex (1947), and forged the still unbreakable link between Wollstonecraft and the annihilation of joy.
"The Radicalism of Queenship" calls attention to Mary Wollstonecraft’s engagement with exceptional historical women, focusing especially on her comments on royal women such as Queen Caroline Matilda of Denmark and Norway. In highlighting how Wollstonecraft found it useful to think with royal women, the paper suggests the importance of placing Wollstonecraft—and feminism more broadly—within many different and often complimentary philosophical approaches and traditions. The paper then charts the role that queens and other elite women have played in the emergence and articulation of western feminisms, focusing especially on developments in Britain.
This essay uses recent feminist work on Antigone to investigate a feminist poetics within Wollstonecraft's Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, her last completed work. It simultaneously understands the Antigone we have inherited from the early nineteenth century as, in fact, following in Wollstonecraft's wake. The shared feminist poetics of these two works holds together grief and rage (as grievance) in forms that resemble melodrama and voices that claim to live always.