Eighteenth-Century Women Writers and the Gentleman's Liberation Movement: Independence, War, Masculinity, and the Novel, 1778-1818


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In her study of late eighteenth-century women novelists, Woodworth argues that women writers' ideas about their own liberty are present not only in their portrayal of heroines but also in their treatment of male characters. She suggests that Frances Burney, Charlotte Smith, Jane West, Maria Edgeworth and Jane Austen all used their creative powers to liberate men from the very institutions and ideas about power, society and gender that promote the subjection of women.