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A Feminine EnlightenmentBritish Women Writers and the Philosophy of Progress, 1759-1820$
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JoEllen DeLucia

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748695942

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748695942.001.0001

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Epilogue: Women Writers in the Age of Ossian

Epilogue: Women Writers in the Age of Ossian

(p.187) Epilogue: Women Writers in the Age of Ossian
A Feminine Enlightenment

JoEllen DeLucia

Edinburgh University Press

Women writers’ engagement with the Ossian poems and Enlightenment historiography raises important questions about feminist literary historiography, which has been wrestling with methodological questions and attempting to both develop aesthetic criteria for women’s literature and think beyond women writers’ problematic association with the domestic novel. Women writers’ engagement with Ossianic poetry provides an alternative mode for thinking about women’s literary history; by rewriting and revising Ossian’s poetry in verse and novels and adapting Scottish modes of historiography to literature, women writers shaped the social and aesthetic structures that informed the larger British Empire. In doing so, they argued for the cultural relativity of aesthetic categories and used poetry and gothic and historical novels to map and critique gender’s placement in narratives of imperial and economic development.

Keywords:   aesthetics, feminism, Ossian, women’s literary history, women writers, feminist literary history

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