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Genre and the mediation of political economy in Edmund Burke's 'Reflections on the revolution in France' and Mary Wollstonecraft's 'A vindication of the rights of men'
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-09, 07:23 authored by Catherine PackhamCatherine Packham
This paper explores the generic fluidity of Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France within the context of the rise of political economy at the end of the eighteenth century and the crisis of the concept of value at that time. It argues that the generic mix of Burke's text can be read as a rhetorical strategy which at once conveys but also mystifies the perceived truths of a labour economy in thrall to the circulation of goods. At the same time, Burke's text seeks to maintain a fiction of the beauty of the social order through a sensationalist and aesthetic terminology and style, thus establishing political economy as a science to be mediated by the aesthetic. Some attention is also paid to Wollstonecraft's response to Burke in her Vindication of the Rights of Men, especially her attack on his gentlemanly authorial persona, and her resistance to Burke's desire to separate the aesthetic and the affective from the realms of political and economic life.
- Published version
JournalEighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation
PublisherUniversity of Pennsylvania Press
Department affiliated with
- English Publications
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