Material Enlightenment
Title Details

288 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

8 b/w. Illustrations

Series: Studies in the Eighteenth Century

Imprint: Boydell Press

Material Enlightenment

Women Writers and the Science of Mind, 1770-1830

by Joanna Wharton

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
A methodologically innovative account of the role of women writers in the development of early psychological theory and practice in the long eighteenth century.
Women writers played a central, but hitherto under-recognised, role in the development of the philosophy of mind and its practical outworkings in Romantic era England, Scotland and Ireland. This book focuses on the writings and lives of five leading figures - Anna Barbauld, Honora Edgeworth, Hannah More, Elizabeth Hamilton and Maria Edgeworth - a group of women who differed profoundly in their political, religious and social views but were nevertheless associated through correspondence, family ties and a shared belief in the importance of female education. It shows how through the philosophical language of materiality and embodiment that they developed and the 'enlightened domesticity' that they espoused they transformed educational practice and made substantial interventions into the social reformist politics of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Alive to the manifold overlaps between emotional, and often religious, experience and experiment in the developing science of mind at this time, the book illuminates the potential and the limits of domestic Enlightenment, particularly in projects of moral and industrial 'improvement' and casts new light on a wide variety of other fields: the history of science, early psychology and religion, reformist politics and Romanticism, and how all these reflected the political and social fallout of the French Revolution in the first years of the nineteenth century.

JOANNA WHARTON is an Early Career Fellow at Lichtenberg-Kolleg, the Göttingen Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Introduction
'Things Themselves': Anna Letitia Barbauld's Lessons and Hymns
Honora Edgeworth and the 'experimental science' of education
Profession and occlusion: Hannah More's 'vital Christianity'
Clearing out the 'rubbish': Elizabeth Hamilton's domestic philosophy
'The spirit of industry': Maria Edgeworth's object lessons
Afterword
Bibliography
"Although it is focused on education and philosophy, Wharton's book will give historically oriented scholars in a variety of fields a valuable tool for their own teaching and research." EUROPEAN ROMANIC REVIEW
"Wharton's own style honors the detailed, synthetic, and grounded didactic strategies employed by her four conservative, often devoutly Christian women. This valuable study makes that work not just visible but tangible." SEL STUDIES IN ENGLISH LITERATURE 1500-1900
"Wharton's insightful book offers an original contribution to the fields of eighteenth-century studies and women's studies; its compelling analyses and engaging writing style together make it an absolute page-turner and a pleasure to read." Rita J. Dashwood, Eighteenth-Century Fiction

Hardcover

9781783272952

October 2018

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9781787443303

October 2018

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Title Details

288 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

8 b/w. Illustrations

Series: Studies in the Eighteenth Century

Imprint: Boydell Press