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Sentimental Women in the Post-revolutionary American Geoculture of the 1790s

Šesnić, Jelena
Sentimental Women in the Post-revolutionary American Geoculture of the 1790s // A Cultural History of Capitalism: Britain, America, Croatia
Zagreb, Hrvatska, 2017. (predavanje, međunarodna recenzija, neobjavljeni rad, znanstveni)

Sentimental Women in the Post-revolutionary American Geoculture of the 1790s

Šesnić, Jelena

Vrsta, podvrsta i kategorija rada
Sažeci sa skupova, neobjavljeni rad, znanstveni

A Cultural History of Capitalism: Britain, America, Croatia

Mjesto i datum
Zagreb, Hrvatska, 7.-8. travnja 2017.

Vrsta sudjelovanja

Vrsta recenzije
Međunarodna recenzija

Ključne riječi
1790s, Atlantic world system, sentimental novel, Susanna Rowson, Hannah Webster Foster

Early and post-Revolution U.S. American literature has recently been revisited as a feature of an intense circulation of cultural goods in the Atlantic sphere, rather than seen as a nationally bounded phenomenon (Armstrong and Tennenhouse). Furthermore, texts focusing on women (and occasionally also authored by women) and displaying female body as a locus of sentimentality, seduction, sensibility and consumption, figure as an important token of that exchange, even as they serve as allegories of a number of new social dispensations in the young Republic. In a recent study on the rise of the American novel in the 1790s, Stephen Shapiro uses the world-system notion of geoculture to account for the belated but creative re-appropriation of the conventions of French and British sentimental traditions into the American novel under the conditions obtaining in the Atlantic semi-periphery of the chain of eastern seaboard harbors (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore). Even though Shapiro's archive doesn't explicitly engage women writers, his reading of some geocultural elements, notably, sensibility, sentimental cultural production, sensational consumption, and slavery (Shapiro’s terms) seems to encourage this line of inquiry into female authors of the period. My focus will consequently be on two popular sentimental novels of the 1790s, Susanna Rowson's Charlotte Temple and Hannah Webster's The Coquette. Rather than functioning simply as cautionary tales, the novels, which center on seduction and thus demarcating the scope of female agency, should also be understood as creative responses to as well as generators of many realignments in personal identities and social relations of the early Republic. The question remains, however, if the small cohort of women writers inscribes the stock geocultural elements in the same way as their male counterparts in the period and so simply submit their female-centered plots to the economic and cultural imperatives of an emerging class of merchants, or if they allow for an expanded application of the borrowed cultural elements. Concurrently, my discussion will engage the possibility that sentimentalism, as one of the key articulations of the bourgeois emerging in the 18th century, be considered as a philosophical template which aligns the “democratic sentiment” (Gross) with the currents of commerce.

Izvorni jezik

Znanstvena područja


Projekt / tema
HRZZ-IP-2013-11-1543 - Kulturna povijest kapitalizma: Britanija, Amerika, Hrvatska (Tatjana Gregurić, )

Filozofski fakultet, Zagreb

Autor s matičnim brojem:
Jelena Šesnić, (236460)