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2 / JENSEN shape of several fields. Yet it is also clear that the conditions under which Gutwirth was able to accomplish such remarkable work, especially during the early part of her career, were far from supportive of women scholars, much less of feminist ones. By honoring Madelyn Gutwirth at its plenary, the Women's Caucus hoped we would also reflect on where women and feminist scholars were thirty years ago and where we are now. The essays collected here, punctuated by Gutwirth's own contribution, offer the same opportunity for reflection. In her opening essay, Janet Whatley reminds us that Gutwirth's career as a tenured professor ( 1969-1991 ) was spent at West Chester University, where she taught eight courses a year, ranging from elementary French language to twentieth-century literature. Gutwirth herself indicates that before being hired at West Chester, she taught part-time at three different institutions (19581966 ). Despite this itinerancy and demanding teaching load, not only did she manage to do research and to publish, she also founded the Women's Studies Program at her home institution and served ASECS and the Modern Language Association in a number of capacities. As Whatley remarks, Gutwirth's concern to bring about a more just and compassionate academe, so evident in her commitment to professional service, also informs her scholarship. For example, her 1978 book on Germaine de Staël, the first extensive study in English, is as notable for its empathie portrayal of a complex personality as for its rigorous analysis of Staël's works. Karyna Szmurlo highlights Madelyn's innovative assessment of Staël, whom critics had previously judged an insignificant writer, as a powerful model of resistance, both in her life and in her writing, to woman's domestic role in the eighteenth century. As Sarah Maza further notes, one of Gutwirth's keenest insights comes from using allegory to reveal the significance of Staël's depictions of both self and heroine as the ancient sybil. Being seen as vessels of divine truth, rather than speaking it in their own voices, worked to legitimate these women's genius at a time when feminine genius was considered anathema. Identifying the rich interdisciplinary method that characterizes Gutwirth's scholarship, an interweaving of literature, history, art history, and psychoanalysis, Maza underscores one of the historical-theoretical aspects of the book on Staël. By illustrating how this writer acted out her various national identities (Swiss, Dutch, French), Gutwirth shows how nationalism is a gendered construction. Indeed, this insight anticipates a current crossdisciplinary preoccupation, the performative nature of the self. Gutwirth's ability to anticipate trends in cultural analysis is nowhere more apparent than in her 1992 Twilight of the Goddesses. As Madeleine Dobie shows, in this monumental study, Gutwirth explores gender as a category The Career and Work of Madelyn Gutwirth I 3 always in flux; she understands culture as a process of displacement and compensation. Examining literary, political, and visual representations in relation to social history, Gutwirth dispels the long-held myth that eighteenthcentury France was a woman's paradise. For example, the market women's march on Paris, which led to an assault on the queen, reveals a female misogyny meant to express solidarity with men through a demonstration of national loyalty and feminine purity. Gutwirth thus demonstrates how dominant behaviors and discourses pitted women against one another. In more recent work on Beaumarchais 's Figaro trilogy, as Carol Blum points out, Gutwirth explores a variety of themes through the figure of the foundling. These include ambivalent attitudes in late eighteenth-century France toward sexuality, women's role in family life, familial vs. public investments in the child, and individual freedom as emblematized by the illegitimate child's right to be integrated into society. This issue of integration leads to one of the questions Gutwirth, in her closing essay, asks us to ponder. To what extent, in the last thirty years, has feminist scholarship been successfully integrated into academic society? The overt resistance Gutwirth faced in graduate school and the more genteel resistance of ASECS to feminist questioning prior to the founding of the Women's Caucus are, by and large, behind us. Yet despite the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1938-6133
Print ISSN
0360-2370
Pages
pp. 1-3
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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