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Ingenuous Subjection: Compliance and Power in the Eighteenth-Century Domestic Novel Helen Thompson

Ingenuous Subjection: Compliance and Power in the Eighteenth-Century Domestic Novel

Helen Thompson

Published September 6th 2005
ISBN : 9780812238914
Hardcover
278 pages
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 About the Book 

Helen Thompsons Ingenuous Subjection offers a new feminist history of the eighteenth-century domestic novel. By reading social contract theory alongside representations of the domestic sphere by authors such as Mary Astell, Mary Davys, SamuelMoreHelen Thompsons Ingenuous Subjection offers a new feminist history of the eighteenth-century domestic novel. By reading social contract theory alongside representations of the domestic sphere by authors such as Mary Astell, Mary Davys, Samuel Richardson, Eliza Haywood, and Frances Sheridan, Thompson shows how these writers confront womens paradoxical status as both contractual agents and naturally subject wives. Over the long eighteenth century, Thompson argues, domestic novelists appropriated the standard of political modernity advanced by John Locke and others as a citizens free or ingenuous assent to the law. The domestic novel figures feminine political difference not as womens deviation from an abstract universal but rather as their failure freely or ingenuously to submit to the power retained by Enlightenment husbands.