Slander, conversation and the making of the Christian public sphere in mary astell's a serious proposal to the ladies and the Christian religion as profess’d by a daughter of the church of England

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Abstract

In Christian Religion, the representations of Crafty and Designing Men' led to the pursuit of what she termed later in the text as Temporal Interest or Party' and the impoverishment of a thoroughly masculine public sphere. Astell's most devastating account of masculine artifice is her Some Reflections upon Marriage. If the polite culture of 1690s England had deteriorated into flattery, artifice and slander, Astell saw what she called disinterested conversation leading not to the enlightenment heralded by her political adversaries, but rather to a public sphere based upon fully Christian principles. In the idealization of A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, Astell imagines a retirement that allows for the perpetual Display of the Beauties of Religion in an exemplary Conversation'. Astell construed feminine friendship figured in her proposal as a religious retreat for women as the refuge from the corruption of masculine deceit, and the reduction of relationships to political seduction.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligion and Women in Britain, C. 1660-1760
PublisherAshgate Publishing Ltd
Pages131-143
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781409429203
ISBN (Print)9781409429197
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

eBook Published 30 April 2016

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