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  • Some Current Publications
  • Hilary Menges


Mary Astell

Apetrei, Sarah. “‘Call No Man Master Upon Earth’: Mary Astell’s Tory Feminism and an Unknown Correspondence.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 41 (2008): 507–23. Interrogating Mary Astell’s paradoxical position as a “Tory feminist,” the article identifies this position as Astell’s simultaneous ideological commitment to gender equality and to a defense of the church against the “tide of toleration.” Approaching this conundrum by way of a previously unknown correspondence between Astell and the cleric George Hickes, Apetrei argues that Astell’s own doctrine of passive obedience is more provisional that we have hitherto acknowledged, and proposes that Astell’s feminist writings betray an anticlerical instinct that leads her into conflict with her High Church convictions.

See also: GENDER & SEXUALITY (Miller, Stanton).

Aphra Behn

Coppola, Al. “Retraining the Virtuoso’s Gaze: Behn’s Emperor of the Moon, The Royal Society, and the Spectacles of Science and Politics.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 41 (2008): 481–506. Proposing that Behn’s oft-neglected 1687 play is “not just an attack on misguided natural philosophy, nor merely an excuse to capitalize on the fads for opera,” Coppola suggests that Behn’s play interrogates the nature of spectacle itself. As a satiric restaging of John Dryden’s Albion and Albanius, Behn’s farce deliberately stimulates her audience’s uncritical wonder in order to retrain it. Coppola argues that in her lampoon of the credulous virtuoso, [End Page 63] Behn warns her audience of the debased nature of the theater, of the “irrational credulity” prompted by the Exclusion Crisis, and of the threats posed by enthusiasm to civil harmony.

Figlerowicz, Marta. “‘Frightful Spectacles of a Mangled King’: Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko and Narration Through Theater.” New Literary History: A Journal of Theory and Interpretation 39 (2008): 321–34. Intervening in the genre debates about Oroonoko that have sought to explain the peculiar hybrid nature of Behn’s novella, this article reads Oroonoko in relation to the theater. Arguing for “a deeper, structural affinity” between Behn’s plays and her prose fiction, Figlerowicz analyzes the novella as a “highly creative, consistent attempt at recreating in the medium of prose fiction the dramatic effects generated by the interactions between an actor and his audience.” Highlighting the gap between the introspection of the character and the reactions he inspires in his audience allows Behn to underscore the “cultural opacity” of Oroonoko while maintaining our sympathy for him. In arguing for the intimate relationship between theater and prose fiction, Figlerowicz seeks to reorient our understanding of the evolution of the novel as a literary genre.

Yang, Chi-ming. “Asia Out of Place: The Aesthetics of Incorruptibility in Behn’s Oroonoko.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 42 (2009): 235–53. Focusing on two key moments in which the Orient figures in Behn’s Oroonoko, this article suggests that the romanticization of African slave labor in the novel “takes place through a particular form of commodification, that of early modern orientalism.” This early modern orientalism valued and idealized practices such as japanning and tiger hunting, as well as the decorative sensibility of chinoiserie. Yang situates the novel in the context of global commerce between East and West, and clarifies that Behn draws on Orientalized practices to “construct a new myth of immortality…that memorializes and objectifies slave labor through the commodity culture of the East Indies trade.”

Robert Boyle

Dumsday, Travis. “Robert Boyle on the Diversity of Religions.” Religious Studies 44 (2008): 315–32. Dumsday summarizes and comments on Robert Boyle’s little-known treatise “On the diversity of religions,” which was unpublished during his lifetime (but was probably composed before 1684) and which comments on the difficulty of determining the true faith given the plurality of religious doctrines. The author notes that Boyle avoids discussions of soteriology and theodicy; his “concern lies not in why God would allow diversity, or in how exactly salvation is played out in such a world,” but rather in how anyone “could rationally believe himself correct in choosing a particular religion…when faced with such a vast throng of competitors.”

John Bunyan

Stevens, Paul. “Bunyan, The Great War, and the Political Ways of Grace.” Review of English Studies 59 (2008...


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