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Book Cover
Author Kemmerer, Kathleen Nulton, 1952-

Title A neutral being between the sexes : Samuel Johnson's sexual politics / Kathleen Nulton Kemmerer.

Published Lewisburg : Bucknell University Press ; London : Associated University Presses, [1998]


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  828.609 JOHNSON/ KEMM    AVAILABLE
Physical description 155 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 143-152) and index.
Contents 1. "Almost excluded ... from happiness": Johnson on Women and Marriage -- 2. "Must then Ambition's votaries ... break the bonds of nature?": Sexual Politics in Irene -- 3. "A neutral being between the sexes": Rhetorical Strategy in The Rambler -- 4. "To write like a woman": Female Personae in The Rambler -- 5. "The endearing elegance of female friendship": Equality and Sexual Difference in Rasselas -- Conclusion: "When was pow'r beneficient in vain?"
Summary Samuel Johnson's image in the popular imagination - that of a swaggering misogynist, a denigrator of women and their abilities - is based largely on frequently repeated quotations gleaned from Boswell's famous Life. By contrast, in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, many women intellectuals who were familiar with Johnson's works considered him a champion of women, an able defender in the ongoing debate about female nature and ability that had been going on since the middle ages, the querelle des femmes. In this study, Kathleen Nulton Kemmerer reclaims this earlier image of Johnson as a strong advocate of women's education, full participation in intellectual life, and full equality with men for the happiness of all society.
Set in the context of gender expectations and prejudices in the eighteenth century, Kemmerer's work illuminates Johnson's contribution to the debate that still rages over whether men or women are more responsible for making life miserable. Johnson's ultimate answer is that the errors and expectations of both sexes play a large part, but that eliminating stereotypes and fostering a spirit of cooperation and respect between men and women would make life much more pleasant for all.
Subject Johnson, Samuel, 1709-1784 -- Political and social views.
Johnson, Samuel, 1709-1784 -- Characters -- Women.
Feminism and literature -- England -- History -- 18th century.
Women and literature -- England -- History -- 18th century.
Women's rights in literature.
Sex role in literature.
ISBN 0838753876