Through analysis of the life and writings of eighteenth-century Quaker artist and author Mary Knowles, Judith Jennings uncovers concrete but complex examples of how gender functioned in family, social, and public contexts during the Georgian Age. Knowles's story, including her bold confrontation of Samuel Johnson and public dispute with James Boswell, serves as a lens through which to view larger connections, such as the social transformation of English Quakers, changing concepts of gender and the transmission of radical political ideology during the era of the American and French revolutions. Further, Jennings offers a more nuanced view of the participation of "middling" women in radical politics through an examination of Knowles's theological beliefs, social networks and political opinions at a time when the American and French Revolutions reshaped political ideology. By analyzing Mary Knowles's connections-both male and female-Jennings contributes new understanding about how sociability operated, encompassing women and men of various faiths and ethnic origins.
Contents: Introduction; Radical self-representation; Matrimony, monarchy and fame; Confronting Samuel Johnson; Revolutionary politics and literary skirmishes; Defying James Boswell; The French Revolution and a new note; 'Help me to pray'; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.