Genre and the mediation of political economy in Edmund Burke's 'Reflections on the revolution in France' and Mary Wollstonecraft's 'A vindication of the rights of men'

Packham, Catherine (2019) Genre and the mediation of political economy in Edmund Burke's 'Reflections on the revolution in France' and Mary Wollstonecraft's 'A vindication of the rights of men'. Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, 60 (3). pp. 249-268. ISSN 0193-5380

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Abstract

This paper explores the generic fluidity of Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France within the context of the rise of political economy at the end of the eighteenth century and the crisis of the concept of value at that time. It argues that the generic mix of Burke's text can be read as a rhetorical strategy which at once conveys but also mystifies the perceived truths of a labour economy in thrall to the circulation of goods. At the same time, Burke's text seeks to maintain a fiction of the beauty of the social order through a sensationalist and aesthetic terminology and style, thus establishing political economy as a science to be mediated by the aesthetic. Some attention is also paid to Wollstonecraft's response to Burke in her Vindication of the Rights of Men, especially her attack on his gentlemanly authorial persona, and her resistance to Burke's desire to separate the aesthetic and the affective from the realms of political and economic life.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature > PR0161 By period > PR0401 Modern > PR0441 18th century
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Depositing User: Catherine Packham
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2017 09:58
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2020 16:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/69433

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