Summary and Info
The literary virgin is eighteenth-century England's most enduring and unlikely celebrity. Despite her ignominious association with Catholicism and her incorrigibility with respect to the methods of the new science, the virgin emerges, by the middle of the eighteenth century, as the triumphant heroine of sentimental fiction as well as a muse for both satire and pornography. This book explores how and why the virgin turns out to be such a highly contested character at the center of many enlightenment debates. By focusing on the figure and fate of the virgin, the book offers new arguments about the relationship of novelist epistemologies to other modes of knowing, about the significance of virginity to patriarchy, and about the feminization of the novel.
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