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In recent years, scholars have started to look beyond contemptuous representations of chaotic female communities and are beginning to reveal a neglected history of women's cooperative activity. Most work on female collaboration has been in the literary sphere, where the two main topics of relevance are the society of bluestockings and the utopian literary visions of female societies in the eighteenth-century novel. Scholars have highlighted the benefits of female co-operation, but repressive elements have been just as visible. Woman to Woman provides a multi-disciplinary approach to this underexplored theme in order to demonstrate the rich diversity and productivity of female relationships. This collection provides the basis for a more thorough exploration of the benign and beneficial qualities of female communities. Fresh ideas on the study of women's history have revealed that there is still much to be learned about female sociability in all its forms. The most important factor to consider is the vast range of eighteenth-century evidence from public and private sources. Unfortunately, demands of relevance can force investigators to omit some resources from their publications, while devoting close attention to others. Another issue that affects this enterprise is the wide variation in the amount of publicity generated by different forms of female association, and in the care with which they were recorded. These essays draw together the best of current scholarship to show how collaboration enabled eighteenth-century women to intervene in military and political affairs, achieve literary success, experience religious fulfillment, and engage in philanthropic projects. Part I focuses on blood ties, analyzing a range of family relationships; Part II explores female sociability, including various forms of negotiation and co-operation between female friends and companions; Part III provides fascinating new readings of historic figures and events, highlighting the collaborative activity of extraordinary, adventurous women who knowingly risked their lives in order to achieve their goals, including the contemporary exploits of Emma Hamilton and the founding mothers of New France in Canada, and Boadicea's inspiring historical example. This collection honors the late Mary Waldron, whose generous encouragement of other specialists in feminist studies in the long eighteenth century is described in Isobel Grundy's Preface. The volume will interest professional academics, as well as postgraduate and under-graduate students in gender studies and eighteenth-century studies programs.
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