Book ID: CBB476661069

Questioning Nature: British Women's Scientific Writing and Literary Originality, 1750-1830 (2017)


Bailes, Melissa (Author)

University of Virginia Press

Publication Date: 2017
Physical Details: 272
Language: English

In the mid-eighteenth century, many British authors and literary critics anxiously claimed that poetry was in crisis. These writers complained that modern poets plagiarized classical authors as well as one another, asserted that no new subjects for verse remained, and feared poetry's complete exhaustion. Questioning Nature explores how major women writers of the era―including Mary Shelley, Anna Barbauld, and Charlotte Smith―turned in response to developing disciplines of natural history such as botany, zoology, and geology. Recognizing the sociological implications of inquiries in the natural sciences, these authors renovated notions of originality through natural history while engaging with questions of the day. Classifications, hierarchies, and definitions inherent in natural history were appropriated into discussions of gender, race, and nation. Further, their concerns with authorship, authority, and novelty led them to experiment with textual hybridities and collaborative modes of originality that competed with conventional ideas of solitary genius.Exploring these authors and their work, Questioning Nature explains how these women writers' imaginative scientific writing unveiled a new genealogy for Romantic originality, both shaping the literary canon and ultimately leading to their exclusion from it.

Reviewed By

Review Anna K. Sagal (2019) Review of "Questioning Nature: British Women's Scientific Writing and Literary Originality, 1750-1830". Archives of Natural History (pp. 175-176). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Günergun, Feza
Baytop, Asuman
Bailes, Melissa
Browne, E. Janet
Richardson, Sarah
Canales, Jimena
Eighteenth-Century Life
Early American Studies
Eighteenth-Century Studies
Cambridge University Press
Istanbul University
Pantheon Books
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Science and literature
Natural history
Women in science
Smith, Charlotte
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft
Darwin, Erasmus
Barbauld, Anna Letitia
Darwin, Charles Robert
Efendi, Hekimbasi Salih
Great Britain
Ottoman Empire
Bath (England)
Atlantic world
18th century
19th century
16th century
17th century
20th century, early
Geological Society of London

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