Brenda Weber Ijams

Conducting Virtuous Women in Pamela, Evelina and Belinda

Overview and Introduction

"Till Time had stol'n the Ligt'ning from her Eyes,
Sylvia, was never known to Moralize
She gave a Loose to ev'ry gay Desire,
And own'd the tender Flame she cou'd Inspire;
No priestly Doubts, cou'd on her Joys break in,
Imprudence only was a mortal Sin;
Conscience undisturb'd, she calmly slept,
and Virtue suffer'd nought--the Secret kept.
Think not that I from Virtue e'er will stray,
By chusing Fops, whose Vanities betray.
Virtue, we know, subsists in other's Thought,
And she is virtuous, who was never caught:
Our Virtue then, is Prudence in our Choice,
On that alone depends the publick Voice:
You, ever chaste, a Groupe of Youths enjoy'd,
But on Intrigue, Mirtilla's Fame destroy'd.
The World by Outside judges, and we see
Fame takes its Rise, from what we seem to be:
A Vestal thus, Imprudence shall undo,
While Caution make a Vestal--evn' of you.
Joseph Dorman, "The Female Rake: or, Modern Fine Lady" (1736)

Joseph Dorman's long poem on the virtue and prudence of woman seems an appropriate place to begin this dicussion of eighteenth-century conduct literature, for it suggests a fluidity to the term "virtue" highly applicable to the constructed attributes these books advise. The founding rationale of conduct books automatically assumes change through social mobility, for through them a young woman can learn the requisite codes of sensibility which will make her more attractive (and a commodity of greater value) on the marriage market. As such, books of manners are a fitting and interesting model for not just women's issues but much of the social change beginning to emerge in the eighteenth century. As England moved from a hierarchical society to one with a thriving middle class, social mobility became a feasible possibility. Women in particular were afforded the possibility of moving themselves (and their families) up in social status in exchange for a rather liberal dowry paid over, most frequently, to a man of aristocratic birth. Conduct books were needed, then, to give women an appropriate sense of how they should behave, deport themselves, think, feel, and respond in a new sphere of social interaction. Or so the story went. What the books addressed on a more covert level was the need to curb women, to keep them from becoming too mobile, too aware of their capacities and abilities. The books, written by both men and women and directed mostly to daughters, were gestures of warning and approbation, texts to keep women quelled and serving the interest of the nation and its patriarchal dictates. They cautioned women about the importance of being chaste and "pure," sometimes giving advice on dress, toilet, learning, and finances. As much as they attempted to evince a concern for the women they addressed, the texts carried with them a more coercive and disturbing warning about what the "daughters of England" should avoid becoming. [Comments]

It is in this narration of what one should not be [Comments] that the texts actually open up a fissure for subversion. The very act of coloring in the details of a fallen or inappropriate woman, affords a kind of vicarious pleasure and power that actual women of the time were not supposed to desire or enjoy. Further, if we consider texts written by women, the creation of the "fallen" woman becomes a kind of voyage into the forbidden. A woman could birth her own alter-ego: someone who was bold, someone who was saucy, someone who painted her face or had many lovers, someone who even dressed like a man. And even if the text (and by implication its author) took a critical stance in relation to this inappropriate woman, the author could be indulged in repeatedly coming back to the woman. Afterall, it was about teaching a moral lesson, about making the case for what to find repugnant crystal clear. Never mind that the "inappropriate" women often took up two to three times the narrative space of the more ideal (and uninteresting) virtuous women. This new opportunity for expression of the unacceptable [Comments] also marked an important trend of the age, for in shifting social structures there are always shifting methods for subversion. The class mobility and increased literacy of the eighteenth century, opened up new mores which allowed for movement. It also gave voice to women novelists, and through this voice came a kind of writerly subjectivity never before quite as active or as powerful. [Comments]

The attempt to suppress a surge of growth in women is evident both in conduct literature and in texts written during the time. What follows is a fairly detailed list of some of the more prevalent (meaning widely reproduced and multiply editioned) conduct books in the 1700's. These are particularly intriguing when viewed next to three novels of the period and the narrative position taken by each: Pamela (1740), written by Samuel Richardson but told through the ostensibly female focalized perspective of Pamela; Evelina (1778), written by Frances Burney and told mostly in epistolary form between Evelina and her guardian Reverend Villars; and Maria Edgeworth's Belinda (1799), told by a third-person narrator who closely resembles one of the characters of the text, Lady Delacour Comments], a character, I might add, who is in many ways depicted as "unacceptable," yet has more narrative agency than any of the others of the book. Indeed, she actually manipulates the characters in the last scene, placing them in an appropriate ending tableau, feeding them dialogue, and closing with a direct aside to the reader.

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Selected Conduct Books of the Eighteenth Century

(note: this is a "dream" bibliography and only a partial one at that. Many of these texts are not available to a large reading public, and I am indebted to the extensive bibliographies in books by Mary Poovey and Vivien Jones. I have given as complete bibliographic cites as were available.)

"A Physician." The Pleasures of Conjugal Love Explained. In an Essay Concerning Human Generation, 1740.

This doctor disagrees with a common notion of the time that women are "hotter" because they have a greater quantity of blood and the resulting heat causes them to die earlier and be less bothered by winter weather (it is probably the corsets and petticoats which do that.) Instead he wants to argue that love is not a result of excess of heat but rather of "Inconstancy of their Imagination, or rather to the Providence of Nature, that has made them to seve us for Playtoys after our more serious Occupations." He contends that men act with more firmness and have greater strength and alacrity when it comes to the conception of children. "In short, she is only to Conceive, to give Suck, and to breed up Children."

Astell, Mary. A Serious Proposal to the Ladies for the Advancement of their Interest. 4th ed. (1701) New York: Source Books Press, 1970.

Defoe, Daniel. Some Considerations upon Streetwalks with a Proposal for lessening the present Number of them, (1726).

Defoe makes it all too clear that sexuality is the perview of the male. Female sexuality is only deviant sexuality. Defoe's suggestions are to encourage virtue rather than punish vice through whippings, bridewels and work-houses. As well, he considers inequality in marriage (meaning discrepancy in age) to be a crucial problem. To remedy this he suggests that men should not mary old wives as this will lead to the lewdnes and the ruin of virtue in younger women (for of course, the men will grow weary with their older wives and seek greater satisfaction in younger, innocent women).

Dorman, Joseph. The Female Rake: or, Modern Fine Lady, 1736.

Fordyce, James. Sermons to Young Women 4th ed., 2 vols. London: A. Millar and T. Cadell, 1767.

Gisborne, Thomas. An Enquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex 4th ed. London: T. Cadell, Jr. and W. Davies, 1799.

Gorges, Edmon Howard. Aphorisms and Maxims on Various Subjects for the Good Conduct of Life. (n.p., n.d.)

Gregory, John. A Father's Legacy to his Daughters, 1774.

Gregory was a great believer in the necessity for women to possess sensibility, "Without an unusual share of natural sensibility, and very peculiar good fortune, a woman in this country has very little probability of marrying for love." Love, is the key word here for it presumes a value of mutual affection as well as complimentary status and material goods as requistie to a marital union. Gregory contends a father should be listened to because he has no vested interest in flattering his daughters. He makes some interesting rhetorical movesin this text including: aligning his attitudes with the deceased mother, saying even that she had a superior understanding to his; asking to be heard out of their fondness for him; suggesting that he has no need to flatter or deceive and so is genuine; telling them that he holds women in high esteem , he considers them not as domestic drudges or the slave of our pleasures, "but as our companions and equals; as designed to soften our hearts and polish our manners. "Aspire to a kind of virtue," he says, "and you will be the most respected and the most amiable in my eyes."

Hattfield, Miss. Letters on the Importance of the Female Sex: With Observations of Their Manners. London: J. Adlard, 1803.

Hawkins, Laetitia Matilda Hawkins. Letters on the Female Mind, Its Powers and Pursuits 2 vols. London: Hookham and Carpenter, 1793.

Haywood, Eliza. The Female Spectator, Vol. I, Book I, 1744.

This text includes a rape narrative stemming from a masquerade ball. Erminia a young virtuous girl believes she is leaving with her brother and is in truth carried off by a rake who rapes her. Her mother hears of the story--all the family is in shame. Erminia had a suitor ready to marry her. He still found her virtuous and wanted to marry her, but she declined and begged to go live with an aunt, married to a country clergyman. They all found her thinking "truly noble". Haywood writes, "It is not every Woman would have resented such an Injury in the same Manner with Erminia; and it must be confessed, that her Notions of Honour and Virtue had somewhat superlatively delicate in them.--What a Loss then to the World to be depriv'd of so amiable an Example, as she would have doubtless prov'd, of conjugal Truth, Tenderness, and a strict Observance to every Duty the Men so much desire to find her they make a Partner for Life." Interesting twist, this notion that even in her shame Erminia had exemplary virtues which could have been of value to others. The passage is also interesting for the idea that Erminia wasn't at fault for the rape.

Johnson, Samuel. The Rambler, Number 4. in The Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson, ed. W. J. Bate and Albrect B. Strauss. New Haven: Yale UP, 1969.

The Ladies Dispensatory: or, Every Woman her own Physician, 1740

Mordaunt, Colonel Harry (aka Bernard Mandeville). A Modest Defence of Public Stews: or, and Essay upon Whoring, 1724; 1740 edn.

Mordaunt evinces an active realization and acknowledgement of the constructedness of chastity and perhaps even gender (**1**). He believes that women are naturally inclined to be lascivious (it was a prevalent notion at the time that women were always ready to have a baby and that orgasm was the sign of conception). From Philogamus: "As Women were principally designed for producing the Species, and Men for other greater Ends: we cannot wonder if their Inclinations and Desires tend chiefly that Way. The great Concern of every Commonwealth, is to keep them within due Bounds."

More, Hannah. Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education. 2d. ed., 2 vols. London: T. Cadell, Jr. and W. Davies, 1799.

More was a believer that women should stay in their place, that they would be distracted by those things which are the perview of men. See topic on "women as writers."

Mott, Abigail. Observations on the Importance of the Female Sex. New York: Mahlon Day, 1825.

Pennington, Sarah. An Unfortunate Mother's Advice to Her Absent Daughters London: S. Chandler, 1761.

"Philogamus," The Present State of Matrimony: or, the Real Causes of Conjugal Infidelity and Unhappy Marriages, 1739.

The writer concedes that men are far more prolific in commiting and even knowing about crimes, but women far excell men in infidelity. He calls for a return to the Gynacaeum or a monastary where women can be educated in seclusion and not exposed to males until they are married (interesting tie to Virginia St. Pierre in Belinda **2**). He notes, "light combustible Matter must be kept at a greater Distance from the Fire." The primary problems then which result in infidelity are: too great a liberty allowed women and want of true love between the young couple. "The best way to procure this voluntary Restraint in married Women, is to endeavour to create an inviolable Love in the young Couple before Marriage, that when they come to be joined in those strict Bonds, they may be persuaded, that they have obtained what they south with so much Anxiety, and would preserve with the Loss of all that was dear to them" (81). This seems a radical move to a Foucauldian model of disciplinarity where "love" is really an internalized version of social control.

Pope, Alexander. "Epistle to a Lady," (1735).

The Polite Lady: or, a Course of Female Education. In a Series of Letters, from a Mother to Her Daughter. 2d. ed. London: Newberry and Carnan, 1769.

Richardson, Samuel. Familiar Letters on Important Occasions, 1741.

There is no evidence to suggest this is the same Samuel Richardson who authored Pamela. In this text a father encourages his daughter not to consider the address of a subaltern (a soldier). He persuades her to look at the other soldiers' wives and see their condition, both materially and physically. Does she want washer woman hands? Does she want to live in rags. He is offended by her alliance which he considers not vicious but indiscreet. Indescretion, then, the greater offense.

Rowe, Elizabeth Singer. Letters Moral and Entertaining, in Prose and Verse, 1728; 3rd ed. 1735.

Rowe quite definitely employs the language of sensibility: "I believe you will be very inquisitive to find what has put these odd, these strange unaccountable whimsies into my brain.

Tis love, (you start--you pity--you pray for me) but 'tis love, a tender hopeless passion, that has had this surprizing effect! 'Tis an absolute despair of being happy in this world, that has put me on endeavours to secure the happiness of the next: could I have possest the idol of my soul, I had been at rest, and had lost the relish of superior joys." Rowe uses this language verging on the melodramatic while recounting the story of a woman swept away by passion and finally righting herself through virtue. "I am now reconcil'd to my self, and find an ineffable satisfaction in the silent approbation of my own conduct; a satisfaction superior to all the empty applause of the crowd. I reflect with pleasure on the happy change. My soul seems now in its proper situation, and conscious of its dignity, looks about this world for its rest and happiness: I am almost in a state of insensibility, with regard to mortal things, and have fix'd my views on those infinite delights, which will be the certain rewards of virtue." Here Silvia in a letter to her friend Belinda moves to a place beyond sensibility--she is in the sublime.

Ruskin, John. "Of Queen's Gardens" in Sesame and Lilies. New York: John Wiley and Son, 1865.

Ruskin's work is more reflective of nineteenth century gender ideologies than eighteenth; however, his admonitions to women to stay home as the better sex and create a safe retreat for men of the world are applicable messages in both centuries.

Savile, George, Marquis of Halifax. The Lady's New Year's Gift: or, Advice to a Daughter, 1688.

Savile's text was first published in 1688 and reprinted at least fourteen times throughout the eighteenth century. It is generously titled, for his words are hardly advicue but rules, reminiscent of the fatherly dominion exercise in Pamela, Evelina, and even toward Sophia in Tom Jones. **3** Consider the following passage from the text: ". . . the Mind will have no rest whilst it is possess'd by a darling Passion. You are at present the chief Object of my Care, as well as of my Kindness, which sometimes throweth me into Visions of your being happy in the World, that are better suited to my partial Wishes, than to my reasonable Hopes for you. At other times, when my Fears prevail, I shrink as if I was struck, at the Prospect of Danger, to which a young Woman must be expos'd. . . . Want of Care, my dear Child, is never to be excus'd; since, as to this World, it hat the same effect as want of Vertue. There may be some bitterness in meer Obedience: The natural Love of Liberty may help to make the Commands of a Parent harder to go down . . . but when a Father layeth aside his Authority, and persuadeth only by his Kindness, you will never answer it to Good Nature, if it hath not weight with you."

Wilkes, Wetenhall. A Letter of Genteel and Moral Advice to a Young Lady, 1740, 8th edn 1766.

Wetenhall views chastity as the highest virtue. See section entitled "sexuality."

Wollstonecraft, Mary. Thoughts on the Education of Daughters: with Reflections on Female Conduct, in the More Important Duties of Life, 1788.

Wollstonecraft's abiding argument is that a lack of meaningful work and mental occupation causes women to fall prey to an excessive emotionalism which incapcitates any efficacy they might have. See section entitled "sensibility."

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Secondary and Primary Sources of Value in Interrogating Women's Roles, Codes of Manners, and Issues of Sensibility

Armstrong, Nancy. Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1987.

Armstrong's objective in this seminal text is to argue that the division between private and public spheres did not necessarily disempower women. In fact, the rise of the woman novelist, gave a kind of cachet to the more domestic sensibilities of women, and a female subjectivity came to be perceived as the "desired subjectivity." Her founding premise is that the rise of the novel "hinged upon a struggle to say what made a woman desirable" (4). She argues that this notion puts a lot at stake including the "densely interwoven fabric of common sense and sentimentality that even today ensures the ubiquity of middle-class power" (5).

_________. "The Rise of the Domestic Woman" in Nancy Armstrong and Leonard Tennenhouse (eds.), The Ideology of Conduct: Essays on Literature and the History of Sexuality. London and New: Methuen, 1987.

Burke, Edmund. Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful (1757). ed. J.T. Boulton. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1958.

Burke states, "Those virtues which cause admiration, and are of the sublimer kind, produce terror rather than love. Such as fortitude, justice, wisdom, and the like." As Vivien Jones notes, Burke's ideas on how far the concept of beauty may be applied to the mind don't overtly include women, yet his cultural assumptions speak loudly of gender difference. He categorizes mental attributes as against the "softer virtues" and those of the "sublimer kind" depend on a distinction between feminine and masculine qualities. Softness is opposed to strength, amiability to dignity, nature to authority, and it comes as no surprise when the implicit gendering of these oppositions is made explicit in the comparison between "The mother's fondness and indulgence" and the "authority of a father." The great virtues turn principally on dangers, punishments, and troubles, and are exercised rather in preventing the worse mischiefs, than in dispensing favours; and are therefore not lovely, though highly venerable. The subordinate turn on reliefs, gratifications, and indulgences and are therefore more lovely, though inferior in dignity (Jones 3).

Burney, Frances. Evelina, or, the History of a Young Lady's Entrance into the World. New York: Norton, 1965.

Edgeworth, Maria. Belinda. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1991.

George, Margaret. "From 'Goodwife' to 'Mistress': The Transformation of the Female in Bourgeois Culture." Science and Society.

Jones, Vivien, ed. Women in the Eighteenth Century: Constructions of

Femininity. New York: Routledge, 1990.

Jones' books is an excellent resource, both for its abundant gathering of primary conduct literature material and for its trenchant insights on what this material suggests. She notes, "In a period of major political and economic change, definitions of 'women' and 'femininity' played a crucial part in a wider redefinition of social categories and social roles . . . " (7). And so this material is valuable not only for what it tells us about the models women were trying to fit but about the multiple discourses of class, politics, and race which played themselves out through the discourse of gender. Jones recounts three versions of the eighteenth century: 1) Socio-economic. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 is generally taken to symbolize the ascendancy of Protestant, mercantile interests and commitment to some form of representational government. The 1789 French Revolution signals the beginning of an era which epitomized the debates which threatened the relative economic and political stability established after 1688. During this period England's economy completed the change from a predominantly feudal organization to pre-industrial capitalism, political power shifted correspondingly from an aristocratic base to an alliance between landed and mercantile wealth. middle class began to gain cultural ascendance. 2) Women as markers of the middle class. Jones argues that conduct literature suggests women were read as a middle class group in a way that men were not. To become a "leisured" wife was a measure of social success. With this came the idea that feminine sensitivity began to set the standard for what men were to become, as in the case of Mr. B____ who must refine to win Pamela. 3) Women as writers. Women began to write in increasing numbers (becoming consumers of culture as well as creators of it). "Repeatedly . . . women's supposed special capacity for sympathy and feeling is assumed to make them peculiarly fitted for literary pursuits" (11).

MacKinnon, Catherine. "Feminism, Marxism, Method, and the State: An Agenda for Theory." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 7:3 (Spring 1982): 515- 44.

MacKinnon offers a discussion of the persistent political ramifications of equating "female" with "feminine."

O'Malley, Ida Beatrice. Women in Subjection: A Study of the Lives of Englishwomen Before 1832. London: Duckworth, 1933.

Poovey, Mary. The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer: Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Whelley, and Jane Austen. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1984.

Poovey self announces the intent of her book as, "to look beyond the images of woman to examine the shadow the Proper Lady casts across the careers of some of the women who became professional authors despite the strictures of propriety. The struggle each of these women waged to create a professional identity was in large measure defined by the social and psychological force of this idea of proper--or innate--femininity. Because gender roles are part of familial, political, social, and economic relationships, the terms in which femininity is publicly formulated dictates, in large measure, the way femaleness is subjectively experienced" (x).

Richardson, Samuel. Pamela or, Virtue Rewarded. ed. T.C. Duncan Eaves and Ben D. Kimpel. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1971.

Sparkes, Patricia Meyer. "Reflecting Women." Yale Review. (Autumn, 1973): 27-30.

Spencer, Jane. The Rise of the Woman Novelist. Oxford: Blackwell, 1986.

Todd, Janet. Sensibility: An Introduction. London and New York: Methuen, 1986.

Tomaselli, Sylvana. "The Enlightenment debate on Women" History Workshop Journal 19 (1985): 101-24.

Wollstonecraft, Mary. Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792).

Wollstonecraft criticizes the practice of preparing men for professions while marriage is not considered as "the grand feature in their lives" as it is for women who "have no scheme to sharpen their faculties." She contends that the preparation for marriage only compels women to have an "over-exercised sensibility" causing "all their thoughts (to) turn on things calculated to excite emotion and feeling, when they should reason"(150-152).

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Quotes on Selected Themes

On Sensibility

Vivien Jones. Women in the Eighteenth Century.

"In stressing the enabling effects of a discourse which privileged 'feminine' qualities, it is easy to forget the surrounding discourses which continued to subordinate fiction to other literary genres and feeling to virtues of, in Burke's terms, 'the sublimer kind'" (11).

"In Gregory sexuality is figured almost entirely through the language of sensibility; men and women are differentiated by their capacities for feeling, but it is now men rather women who are capable of forming powerful emotional attachments. Women's unequal role the consequence of female sensibility" (15).

Gregory, John. A Father's Legacy to his Daughters.

"When a girl ceases to blush, she has lost the most powerful charm of beauty. That extreme sensibility which it indicates, may be a weakness and incumbrance in our sex, as I have too often felt; but in yours it is peculiarly engaging. Pedants, who think themselves philosophers, ask why a woman should blush when she is conscious of no crime. It is a sufficient answer, that Nature has made you to blush when you are guilty of no fault, and has forced us to love you because you do so. --blushing is so far from being necessarily an attendant on guilt, that it is the usual companion of innocence."

"As your interests more frequently clash, and as your feelings are quicker than ours, your temptations to it (detraction) are more frequent. . . The temper and dispositions of the heart in your sex make you enter more readily and warmly into friendships than men. Your natural propensity to it is so strong, that you often run into intimacies which you soon have sufficient cause to repent of; and this makes your friendships so very fluctuating."

Wetenhall Wilkes. A Letter of Genteel and Moral Advice to a Young Lady.

"Honest pleasures are not inconsistent with true modesty; but an affected air of coyness and gravity is always suspected. When a young lady is praised for her merit, good mien or beauty, she should not reject such commendations, with an angry look, or a scornful disdain; but receive it with ease and civility, if it be obligingly offered. Rather modestly bear being praised, if you have any right to it, than refuse compliments with a mysterious, scrupulous affectation; and then you will escape the censure of preciseness, or morose virtue; either of which, is the poison of life, and scourge of civil society."

Mary Wollstonecraft. Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

"Women are said to be the weaker vessel, and many are the miseries which this weakness brings on them. Men have in some respects very much the advantage. If they have a tolerable understanding, it has a chance to be cultivated. They are forced to see human nature as it is, and are not left to dwell on the pictures of their own imaginations. Nothing, I am sure, calls for the faculties so much as the being obliged to struggle with the world: and this is not a woman's province in a married state. Her sphere of actions is not large, and if she is taught to look into her own heart, how trivial are her occupations and pursuits! What little arts engross and narrow her mind! 'Cunning fills up the might void of sense'; and cares, which do not improve the heart of understanding, take up her attention. Of course, she falls a prey to childish anger, and silly capricious humors, which render her rather insignificant than vicious."

John Gregory. A Father's Legacy to his Daughters.

"One of the chief beauties in a female characters, is that modest reserve, that retiring delicacy, which avoids the public eye, and is disconcerted even at the gaze of admiration. --I do not wish you to be insensible to applause. If you were, you must become, if not worse, at least less amiable women. But you may be dazzled by that admiration, which yet rejoices your hearts" (45). Hence all of the blushing. "When a girl ceases to blush, she has lost the most powerful charm of beauty" (46).

"If he has delicacy, he will ask for no stronger proof of your affection, for your sake; if he has sense, he will not ask it for his own. This is an unpleasant truth, but it is my duty to let you know it. Violent love cannot subsist, at least cannot be expressed, for any time together, on both sides; otherwise the certain consequence however concealed, is satiety and disgust" (52). This is Mr. Vincent's real crime--asking Belinda for a stronger and more passionate declaration of her love!

On Women as Writers

Hannah More. Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education.

"The female too, wanting steadiness in her intellectual pursuits, is perpetually turned aside by her characteristic tastes and feelings. Woman in the career of genius, is the Atalanta, who will risk losing the race by running our of her road to puck up the golden apple; while her male competitor, without, perhaps, possessing greater natural strength or swiftness, will more certainly attain his object, by direct pursuit, by being less exposed to the seductions of extraneous beauty, and will win the race by despising the bate" (2:28-29).

Vivien Jones. Women in the Eighteenth Century.

"But for women, to write and publish at all was by definition a transgressive and potentially liberating act, a penetration of the forbidden public sphere, and the virulence with which fiction was attacked as a corrupting 'female' genre is telling evidence of its disruptive potential" (12).

Nancy Armstrong. Desire and Domestic Fiction.

"Literature devoted to producing the domestic woman . . . appeared to ignore the political world run by men. Of the female alone did it presume to say that neither birth nor the accoutrements of title and status accurately represented the individual; only the more subtle nuances of behavior indicated what one was really worth. In ths way, writing for and about the female introduced a whole new vocabulary for social relations, terms that attached precise moral value to certain qualities of mind" (4).

Mary Poovey. The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer.

"In addition to the act of writing itself, women created opportunities for self-expression through strategies of indirection, obliqueness, and doubling that were the imaginative counterparts of the paradoxical behavior they were encouraged to cultivate in everyday life" (42).

On Gender Essentialism

Savile, George, Marquis of Halifax. The Lady's New Year's Gift: or, Advice to a Daughter.

In the text the patriarch urges his daughter to realize that female economy is better suited to compliance, male for reason. The father argues that the female has the greater "power" because she can free herself and subdue her master. Women reign in the nursery without competition and have stronger domestic influences than men. "You have more strength in your Looks, than we have in our Laws, and more power by your Tears, than we have by our Arguments." The greatest triumph for a woman is to win over her man to virtue. She can live on the laurels of this for a long time.

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On Marriage

Savile, George, Marquis of Halifax. The Lady's New Year's Gift: or, Advice to a Daughter.

The patriarch admonishes his daughter to pray for a "Wise Husband, one that by knowing how to be Master for that very reason will not let you feel the weight of it; one whose Authority is so soften'd by his Kindness, that it giveth you ease without abiding your Liberty; one that will return so much tenderness for your Just Esteem of him, that you will never want power, though you will seldom care to use it."

John Gregory. A Father's Legacy to his Daughters.

"A man of taste and delicacy marries a woman because he loves her more than any other. A woman of equal taste and delicacy marries him because she esteem shim, and because he gives her that preference."

Mary Wollstonecraft. Thoughts on the Education of Daughters: with Reflections on Female Conduct, in the More Important Duties of Life.

"Early marriages are, in my opinion, a stop to improvement. If we were born only 'to draw nutrition, propagate and rot', the sooner the end of creation was answered the better; but as women are here allowed to have souls, the soul ought to be attended to."

"A sensible, delicate woman, who by some strange accident, or mistake, is joined to a fool or a brute, must be wretched beyond all names of wretchedness, if her views are confined to the present scene." Not if you ask Mrs. Mirvan (married to the captain in Evelina).

On the Non-Ideal Woman

Savile, George, Marquis of Halifax. The Lady's New Year's Gift: or, Advice to a Daughter.

". . . when a Husband seeth an empty airy thing sail up and down the House to no kind of purpose, and look as if she came thither only to make a Visit; when he findeth that after her Emptiness hath been extreme busie about some very senseless thing, she eats her Breakfast half an hour before Dinner, to be at greater liberty to afflict the Company with her Discourse; then calleth for he Coach, that she may trouble her Acquaintance, who are already cloy'd with her: And having some proper Dialogues ready to display her Foolish Eloquence at the top of the Stairs, she setteth out like a Ship out of the Harbour, laden with trifles and cometh back with them: at her return she repeateth to her faithful waiting-Woman, the Triumphs of that day's Impertinence; then wrap'd up in Flattery and clean Linen, goeth to Bed so satisfied, that it throweth her into pleasant Dreams of her own Felicity. Such a one is seldom serious but with her Taylor; her Children and Family may now and then have a random thought, but she never taketh aim but at something very Impertinent."

On Sexuality

Wilkes, Wetenhall. A Letter of Genteel and Moral Advice to a Young Lady.

Chastity is the highest virtue "without it beauty is unlovely, wit is mean and wanton; quality contemptible, and good-breeding worthless. She, who forfeits her chastity, withers by degrees into scorn and contrition; but she, who lives up to its rules, ere flourishes, like a rose in June, with all her virgin graces about her--sweet to the sense, and lovely to the eye."

"Chastity is so essential and natural to your sex, that every declination from it is a proportionable receding from womanhood. An immodest woman is a kind of monster, distorted from its proper form." **4**

Virginity confers a kind of respect in the world. "Every improper curiosity defiles the character. She that listens, with pleasure, to wanton discourse, defiles her ears; she that speaks it, defiles her tongue; and immodest glances pollute the eyes. As nothing is more clean and spotless, than pure virginity, so the least recession from it is the more discernable."

On Dress

Wilkes, Wetenhall. A Letter of Genteel and Moral Advice to a Young Lady.

"That girl, who endeavours, by the artifice of dress, to attract the admiration, to stir up languishing desires, and to provoke the wanton wishes of her gay beholders, is as guilty of breaking the seventh commandment, as the woman in the Gospel, that was taken in the fact."

John Gregory. A Father's Legacy to his Daughters.

"The love of dress is natural to you, and therefore it is proper and reasonable. Good sense will regulate your expense in it, and good taste will direct you to dress in such a way as to conceal any blemishes, and set off your beauties, if you have any, to the greatest advantage."

"You will not easily believe how much we consider your dress expressive of your characters. Vanity, levity, slovenliness, folly appear through it. An elegant simplicity is an equal proof of taste and delicacy."

On the Duties of a Married Female

Wilkes, Wetenhall. A Letter of Genteel and Moral Advice to a Young Lady.

"If the love of a wife be tempered with a tolerable share of good sense, she will be sure never to have any private views of her own; nor do any thing of consequence, which her husband may possibly dislike, without consulting him." Very reminiscent of the demands Mr. B___ puts on Pamela.

On Womanly Wit

John Gregory. A Father's Legacy to his Daughters.

"Be even cautious in displaying your good sense. It will be thought you assume a superiority over the rest of the company.--But if you happen to have any learning, keep it a profound secret, especially from the men, who generally look with a jealous and malignant eye on a woman of great parts, and cultivated understanding" (46). Interesting in light of Belinda and Lady Delacour.

"If you love him, let me advise you never to discover to him the full extent of your love, no not although you marry him. That sufficiently shews your preference, which is all he is entitled to know." Interesting this idea of the woman not telling too much, not revealing too much. A way of claiming some power? Interesting too this notion that Gregory floats that men can be highly duplicitous and cunning.

Mary Wollstonecraft. Thoughts on the Education of Daughters.

"Reason must often be called in to fill up the vacuums of life; but too many of our sex suffer their to lie dormant. A little ridicule and smart turn of expression, often confutes without convincing; and tricks are played off to raise tenderness, even while they are forfeiting esteem."

"In a comfortable situation, a cultivated mind is necessary to render a woman contented; and in a miserable one, it is her only consolation."

On Affecting Delicacy vs. Possessing It

The kind of irony in all of these books is that it they are instructing women in how to build "naturalness." the goal is a kind of virgin purity, yet the very notion of purity suggests that it is immanent rather than created.

John Gregory. A Father's Legacy to his Daughters.

"I do not wish you to affect delicacy, I wish you to possess it." "The fine woman shews her charms to most advantage, when she seems most to conceal them. The finest bloom in nature is not so fine as what imagination forms."

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