This edited collection showcases the contribution of women to the development of political ideas during the Enlightenment, and presents an alternative to the male-authored canon of philosophy and political thought. Over the course of the eighteenth century increasing numbers of women went into print, and they exploited both new and traditional forms to convey their political ideas: from plays, poems, and novels to essays, journalism, annotated translations, and household manuals, as well as dedicated political tracts. Recently, considerable scholarly attention has been paid to women’s literary writing and their role in salon society, but their participation in political debates is less well studied. This volume offers new perspectives on some better known authors such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Catharine Macaulay, and Anna Laetitia Barbauld, as well as neglected figures from the British Isles and continental Europe. The collection advances discussion of how best to understand women’s political contributions during the period, the place of salon sociability in the political development of Europe, and the interaction between discourses on slavery and those on women’s rights. It will interest scholars and researchers working in women’s intellectual history and Enlightenment thought and serve as a useful adjunct to courses in political theory, women’s studies, the history of feminism, and European history.
Lisa Curtis-Wendlandt is an Adjunct Research Fellow in the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies at Monash University. Paul Gibbard is an Assistant Professor of French at The University of Western Australia. Karen Green is an Associate Professor in the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies at Monash University.