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Editor's !Note The American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies held its first meeting in 1970, and the first volume of Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture appeared the following year. Both ASECS and SECC are now well into their second generation, and the continuing vitality of both the Society and the journal attests to the durability of the enterprise inaugurated thirtysix years ago. This sense of continuity became apparent to me when, having agreed to a two-year stint as editor, I discovered that my undergraduate mentor, Harry C. Payne, had edited SECC volumes 10, 11, and 12. Hank graciously agreed to write a reader's report for this volume, thereby renewing his involvement with the journal he had edited a quarter of a century ago. Volume 35 begins with an eloquent tribute to this theme, the intergenerational solidarity of our Society. At the 2004 annual meeting in Boston, the ASECS Women's Caucus organized a roundtable to honor the career of Professor Madelyn Gutwirth, one of the Caucus' founding mothers. Reproduced here in slightly altered versions are the warm testimonies delivered at that occasion by scholars and friends who have profited over the years from Professor Gutwirth's insightful scholarship and tireless promotion of women in the academy. Collaborators from across her career, including two ASECS presidents, discuss the importance of Gutwirth's teaching and organizational activities, as well as the foundational significance of her work on Germain de Staël and representations of women during the Old Regime and the French Revolution. In a moving, humorous response, Gutwirth celebrates the improved position of women in our Society today, but also cautions against complacency. While the Society occasionally takes time to acknowledge its past, and thereby assesses its present state and plots its future paths, we also keep our attention focused on the subject that brings us together: the diverse people and practices of eighteenth-century Europe, and the broader world with which Europeans interacted in this period. The remaining eleven contributions to this volume display the usual mix of intellectual vibrancy and interdisciplinary acumen that characterize our collective endeavors. Ellen Malenas and Vanessa Smith take us beyond Europe's geographical borders, to the Caribbean and the South Pacific, respectively, to examine χ / Editor's Note the often fraught encounters of English and French men with peoples and cultures different from their own. Malenas offers a reading of a journal written in the early nineteenth century by West Indies plantation owner, and conflicted abolitionist, Matthew Lewis; she highlights Lewis' use of different genres within the journal to assuage his guilt over the material prosperity he enjoyed in Britain as a result of Caribbean slave labor. Smith scours the pages penned by European visitors to the South Pacific for discussions of breadfruit, a plant native to the South Pacific that, at least in the minds of eighteenth-century European voyagers, resembled flour-based bread when cooked. She ably contrasts European and South Pacific dietary uses and cultural perceptions of breadfruit, and returns us briefly to the Caribbean to examine the unfavorable reception in the British West Indies to the plant's importation. Back in the British Isles, Mark Blackwell re-examines John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, a work labeled the "Bible" of the Enlightenment in these pages ten years ago by Katharine Morsberger.1 BlackwelPs exegesis of this text stresses that Locke's understanding of the self may not have been as unitary or monolithic as recent literary critics have asserted. Fraser Easton is also concerned with representations, and misrepresentations, of the self, in the context of newspaper accounts of female cross-dressers in eighteenth-century Britain. Easton discovers that the press valorized women who dressed as men to engage in "heroic" military activities, while it excoriated those who hoped to pursue same-sex relationships under male guise. Dianne Dugaw has previously considered representations of "warrior women" in popular British ballads; here she joins with Amanda Powell to study the way in which women poets in England and the Hispanic world fashioned Sapphic identities through parodies of Petrarchan poetic conventions. These meditations on the pliability of the eighteenth-century self, in theory, in practice, and in verse, highlight...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1938-6133
Print ISSN
0360-2370
Pages
pp. ix-xii
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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