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Lecture 5

Week 5B: Childbirth and Motherhood

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Terry Robinson

ENG307 WEEK 5B 10/10/12 Cowley – The Belle’s Strategem cont’d -issue of nationalism -not only a window into fashionable life/one woman’s maneuvers within patriarchal society -written during war – Britain losing colonies -> Englishness + English ways; nation + nationhood -how do we constitute the idea of a nation? -Act 1 scene 3: “ Englishmen make the best artists, philosophers, etc..” – Doricourt; appeals to British sentiments which would attract people -Doricourt praises English nation VIA its men’; -“Domestic” = something that exists and occurs particular to a country; Englishness; women and Englishness. -“domestic” is expansive as it denotes HOME and NATION; use as tool to envision Cowley’s idea that a sound “domestic” nation is not only compromised of men, but also of the healthy relationships BETWEEN men AND women. Men don’t have to look elsewhere. -patriotic pride championed by woman writer -Cowley suggests that however awesome nationalism is, it creates some Xenophobia (fear of others) -> other ppl eg. French, Englishmen returned from Indian colonies, Chinese, Turks, Jewish – cast in derogatory terms -> at the same time promotes cosmopolitanism -p. 259: Letitia says: she’s willing to sacrifice even her own NATIONALITY + SEXUALITY for Doricourt -> she celebrates globalism and flexibility of (gender) identity, juxtaposing ideas of self/other -possibilities of OTHERS becoming part of England? -p. 252: bottom of page -“others can become Christians” -> Jewish can become like Englishmen too th State of Women in 18 c. England -relegated to the domestic realm, home + family -not allowed to attend university -education: basic literacy, embroidery, singing: play piano/harpsicohord, dance, sketching, conversational French/Italian. Trained for courtship + male pleasure -not given public voice – no voting (only male landowners could) -discouraged from writing/expressing ideas clearly; considered immodest -prevalent notion that only men could reason, and such, only sex capable of virtuous behaviour *this changes towards end of 18 -expected to be chaste before and after marriage -could not own property, form contracts, or contract business. No legal system. They themselves were property, to be exchanged among men. -divorce could only be granted by husbands, who would retain custody of all property (including dowry) and children -often succumbed to abusive marriages in order to maintain their connection to their children -“obedience” was expected from women + sanctioned by religion, law, and custom. -rebellious daughters who refused father’s choice of husband could be disowned -though women were allowed “pin money” to purchase clothes, fabrics, music for harpsichords -> this was negotiated during the marriage contract -was only financially independent if she was a WIDOW. Unusual status + power Poems from the 1730s: Anonymous, A Lady: An Epithalamium -“Epithalamium” = normally, a poem celebratin
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