Did women have an Enlightenment? Historians have long excluded women from the Enlightenment orbit. But images of 'Woman' loomed large in Enlightenment thought, and women themselves - as scientists and salonnieres, bluestockings and governesses, polemicists and novelists - contributed much to enlightened intellectual culture. From Edinburgh to Naples, from Paris to Philadelphia, innovative minds of both sexes challenged conventional assumptions about female nature and entitlements, and imagined new modes of relating between the sexes. Viewpoints competed, with feminists utilizing enlightened principles to argue for women's rights while defenders of masculine privilege developed new rationales for male dominance grounded in Enlightenment science. This path-breaking volume of interdisciplinary essays by forty leading scholars provides a detailed picture of the creative, controversial role played by women and gender issues in the age of light.

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