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Women and Literature in the Goethe Era 1770-1820Determined Dilettantes$
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Helen Fronius

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199210923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199210923.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Women and Literature in the Goethe Era 1770-1820


Oxford University Press

This study revisits the real historical identities of women writers in Germany in the period 1770-1820. The women concerned wrote books on education, collections of essays and poems, travelogues, dramas, novels, and autobiographies. Some were well-connected in literary circles, while others appear to have been on the fringes of Germany's literary public. Their domestic circumstances varied: some were mothers of ten, some were spinsters, some married and divorced several times. The contemporary book market as a whole is reflected in their writings, both in the variety of genres represented and in the variable quality of their writing. But instead of focusing on aesthetic considerations, this book examines how, practically, women writers gained access to the literary market, how they traversed the pitfalls of gender ideology, and how they legitimised their writing and life choices. In doing so, instead of investigating the constraints imposed on women writers by 18th-century social, legal, and literary norms, this book highlights their room for manoeuvre.

Keywords:   gender ideology, novels, poems, travelogues, literary market

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