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The Career and Work of Madelyn Gutwirth / 19 associations, not only between theater and music but between art and political agenda, political agenda and conscious or unconscious primitive sexual fears and wishes, roiling libido and science, public policy, and personal struggles, all of which lead back to the eighteenth century's most gripping literature. I am deeply grateful for the original, foundational understanding of the eighteenth century that Madelyn has brought us in her many writings, as I am for the gift of her friendship. RESPONSE MADELYN GUTWIRTH I simply can't convey adequately my astonishment at the news that The Women's Caucus had decided to devote a session to my career. It's something I'd certainly never dreamed of, out there in my Philadelphia suburb. Fortunately, I've gotten used to the idea. By now I've entered into a phase of distinct cheerfulness over having lived into the 21 st century and my 79th year, beyond a number of equally meritorious colleagues, so as to see it happen. So I thank the Women's Caucus and Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture heartily for this honor. I'm especially grateful to the distinguished contributors to this tribute, not merely for their overgenerous remarks. I deeply admire each one of them for her curiosity, incisiveness, independence, and breadth as a scholar, as well as for her willingness to share in this rite. Each of them has elaborated so searchingly and rewardingly on various aspects of my work that even I understand it far better than before. I'm grateful to each of them for such flattering attentiveness. I want particularly to acknowledge my debts to those with whom I've collaborated fruitfully over the years: Karyna Szmurlo, my companion in furthering Staël Studies on this continent, for her astute, persistent, and devoted efforts; Carol Blum, for inviting me to share in teaching the wonderful NEH Summer Seminar for College Teachers, "Women, Marriage, Sex, and Reproduction in Eighteenth-Century France: A Multidisciplinary Inquiry" we held at Stony Brook in 1996; and Avriel Goldberger, my beloved graduate school friend, who took on her fine translations into English of Staël 's Delphine, Corinne, and Dix-années d'exil, in part out of sisterly solidarity. When I joined ASECS in the 1970 's, there simply was no such organism as the Women's Caucus. In speaking to several age cohorts younger than myself, I feel a need to specify why it was thought necessary to form one. What was then the situation, for both eighteenth-century scholarship on women, or for 20 / GUTWIRTH women scholars? In those days, this society, though some of its male members might or might not be matey with minority members of the opposite sex, retained very much the aura of a men's club, sometimes gracious, sometimes distinctly cool, to women interlopers. The Age of Reason, it was felt, was serious and philosophical; scholarly in an Altgermanisch, nineteenth-century mode, not totally unsuitable for an occasional female scholar, but she would have to maintain a jocular mien and, certainly not dream of upsetting established canonic saws, categories, or practices. A sample of this last, especially discomfiting to me today, is my lack of success when petitioning for special sessions: first, for one to explore reactions to Carol Blum's groundbreaking Rousseau and the Republic of Virtue; and then, after Gloria Flaherty's premature death, for a session celebrating the career of this former president of ASECS. Both were esteemed by program committees to be "out of bounds." Already in 1967 the second twentieth-century feminist wave had begun to bathe the feet of ASECS. Marlene LeGates, for example, published an article entitled "The Cult of Womanhood in Eighteenth-Century Thought" in Eighteenth-Century Studies that year. And of course some female colleagues more than held their own. They might occasionally even preside over it, as did Patricia Spacks, or Gita May. But they knew themselves to be exceptions. Few members, particularly among women, specialized on women writers, artists, or thinkers, or on gender issues. By 1974, however, the women's movement had blown such wind into our sails that a whole new cohort of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1938-6133
Print ISSN
0360-2370
Pages
pp. 19-25
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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