Effeminate Edmund Burke and the Masculine voice of Mary Wollstonecraft

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Title: Effeminate Edmund Burke and the Masculine voice of Mary Wollstonecraft
Authors: O'Donnell, Katherine
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/11077
Date: 2-Sep-2019
Online since: 2019-09-11T10:34:04Z
Abstract: This article focuses on the gendered and nationalist rhetorical strategies Mary Wollstonecraft used in her work The Vindication of the Rights of Man, Q1 in a Letter to the Right Honourable Edmund Burke (1790). While a number of scholars note Wollstonecraft’s adoption of a masculine voice in her systematic feminizing of Burke, this article also pays attention to the ways in which Wollstonecraft impugns Burke with the taints of being crypto-Catholic, Irish, and quasi-French. We notice how Wollstonecraft’s masculine voice is rational, combative, righteously passionate, middle-class, patriotically English and critically Protestant and compare the fashioning of Wollstonecraft’s voice with contemporary political caricatures of John Bull and the cartoon depictions of Edmund Burke that appeared as Wollstonecraft was composing her VRM. Wollstonecraft’s VRM gained her considered attention and her critique of Burke’s character, (and what this article claims is her misreading of his aesthetic treatise), have been remarkably influential even to the present day. The characteristics of the distinct voice created in Wollstonecraft’s first Vindication are also evident in her second and more famous Vindication of the Rights of Woman. However, the rhetorical commitments entailed in Wollstonecraft’s public voice created challenges for her arguments in the second Vindication that demand careful attention.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Journal: Journal of Gender Studies
Volume: 28
Issue: 8
Keywords: Mary WollstonecraftEdmund BurkeVindication of the Rights of Men
DOI: 10.1080/09589236.2019.1660151
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Philosophy Research Collection

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