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date: 16 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the image of women looking at themselves and being observed by others in a significant body of satirical writing by women writers in the 1730s, 1740s, and 1750s. Though Jonathan Swift famously observed that satire ‘is a sort of Glass, wherein Beholders do generally discover every body’s Face but their Own’, these women did the opposite, often unflinchingly so, producing humane reflections on their personal appearances, and on their selves. Self-knowledge through conversation, either with oneself or with others, is a motif of eighteenth-century moral philosophy, and this kind of introspection is replicated throughout satirical verse, particularly that by women. Conversation takes place through the medium of the interlocutor in verse epistles; as answers to previous poems; through voicing the characters of different people; as the voice of the poet within the poem; and as translation and imitation.

Keywords: conversation, soliloquy, women’s writing, Mary Wortley Montagu, Elizabeth Thomas, Mary, Lady Chudleigh, Mary Barber, Elizabeth Teft, Mary Leapor, Mary Jones

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