This anthology of primarily non-fiction works by British women (1702-1870) introduces readers to a range of lesser-known texts and examines thei authors" scholarly ambitions and often groundbreaking achievements. Despite their lack of civil and political rights and in the absence of formal academic training, each of the writers profiled in this unique collection was anxious to establish herself as a serious contributor to what were regarded as male intellectual traditions. Students of women's history will be reacquainted with Harriet Martineau and Mary Hays' political writings while being introduced to Priscilla Wakefield, Jane Marcet, Ada Byron, and Mary Somerville's contributions to science and mathematics. Among others, Mary Shelley and Anna Jameson will intrigue readers with their innovative offerings to the expanding print culture. A historical introduction and chronology provide the context for the primary sources which are arranged thematically. Biographical profiles and short commentaries are provided for each author.
Felicia Gordon was Principal Lecturer in Philosophy and European Literature at Anglia Ruskin University. Now a Senior Research Associate, she has published extensively in women's history and aspects of French Feminism. She is the author of Marie-Madeleine Jodin 1741-1790: Actress, Philosophe, and Feminist (Ashgate, 2002). Gina Luria Walker is Associate Professor of Women's Studies at The New School. She is the author of Mary Hays (1759-1843): The Growth of A Woman's Mind (Ashgate, 2006) and The Idea of Being Free: A Mary Hays Reader (Broadview, 2005). She is co-editor of William Godwin's Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Broadview, 2001), and has published widely on Romantic literature and Enlightenment feminism.