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By R. Eberle

Operating on the intersections of feminist literary feedback, new historicism, and narratology, Chastity and Transgression in Women's Writing, 1792-1897 revises present understandings of nineteenth Century representations of prostitution, woman sexuality, and the "rights of girls" debate. Eberle's undertaking explores the connections and disjunctures among ladies writing in the course of the Romantic interval and people operating through the Victorian period. Roxanne Eberle considers quite a lot of authors together with Mary Wollstonecraft, Amelia Opie, Mary Hays, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Sarah Grand.

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Yet in the next paragraph, Wollstonecraft returns to the individual’s deliberate cultivation of modesty as well as the motivation behind it: “She who can discern the dawn of immortality, in the streaks that shoot athwart the misty night of ignorance, promising a clearer day, will respect, as a sacred temple, the body that enshrines such an improvable soul” (124). On the one hand, the above passages could be read as privileging the mind and the “understanding” over the imagination, and yet, their lyric intensity suggests that in order to “discern the dawn of immortality”, one must also exercise the imagination.

Her relationship with Johnny’s wife is primarily an economic one, rather than a friendship, and Johnny merely offers better terms than Maria does. The latter economic lesson takes on particular resonance in Maria’s interactions with Jemima. While their relationship stands as testimony to the need for alternative bonds between women of different socio-economic backgrounds it also demonstrates the difficulty of achieving such an alliance. The nature of Maria’s relationship with Jemima has been one of great critical speculation.

Critics opposed to readings of Wollstonecraft as a “feminist misogynist” respond by examining the entire sweep of the author’s career and tend to represent her as an experimental writer intent upon negotiating, and often transgressing, the binaries of dominant discourse. 1 In A Vindication of Political Virtue: the Political Theory of Mary Wollstonecraft, Virginia Sapiro reminds her readers that in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries “Sexuality was – materially and not just conceptually – a life and death matter for women” (xix).

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