Introduction: Gender and Scottish Enlightenment Culture

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Carr, Rosalind (2014)
  • Publisher: University of Edinburgh Press

This introduction situates Scotland's Enlightenment in a wider European framework. Concepts of appropriate masculinity and femininity were central features of Scottish Enlightenment discourses of luxury and refinement, and the dominant gender identities that emerged were the polite, refined gentleman motivated by an inner sensibility, and the emotional woman governed by modesty. These were not the only identities available to men and women of eighteenth-century Scotland, but they determined the socially dominant public gender performance among the urban elite. Yet, as the book will show, the exact boundaries of these identities (especially for men) were fluid. Improvement was the unifying thread that held the Enlightenment together, and that enables us to see it as a coherent epistemological and social development. However, in neither thought nor culture was it uniform.
  • References (60)
    60 references, page 1 of 6

    7 Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (London: Routledge, 1999), 173.

    8 Butler, Bodies that Matter, 2.

    9 R. W. Connell, Masculinities (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2005).

    10 John Dwyer, Virtuous Discourse: Sensibility and Community in Late Eighteenth Century Scotland (Edinburgh: John Donald, 1987); G. J Barker-Benfi eld, The Culture of Sensibility: Sex and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992); Michèle Cohen, Fashioning Masculinity: National Identity and Language in the Eighteenth Century (London: Routledge, 1996); Philip Carter, Men and the Emergence of Polite Society, Britain 1660-1800 (Harlow: Pearson Education, 2001).

    11 Connell, Masculinities, 77-81.

    16 See, for example, Carla Hesse (ed.), 'Section 5: women in the enlightened republic of letters', in Sarah Knott and Barbara Taylor (eds), Women, Gender and Enlightenment (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 259-347; Margaret C. Jacob, 'The mental landscape of the public sphere: a European perspective', Eighteenth-Century Studies 28(1) (1994) 95-113; Margaret C. Jacob, Living the Enlightenment: Freemasonry and Politics in Eighteenth-Century Europe (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991); Karen Offen, European Feminisms 1700-1950: A Political History (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000), 27-49.

    17 Jacob, 'Mental landscape', 108; Joan Landes, Women and the Public Sphere in the Age of the French Revolution (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1988).

    18 Offen, European Feminisms, 27-9.

    19 Ibid., 46-7.

    20 Karen O'Brien, Women and Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 2.

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