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Virtual Exhibits

Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Eighteenth-Century Women Writers: Culture and Voice

The Inflexible Captive Title Page

Image: Title page of The Inflexible Captive by Hannah More, 1774. Toppan Rare Books Library, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The aforementioned Hannah More (1745-1833), a heavily featured author in the loggia exhibit, testifies to the ways in which women found their own literary voice, whether that be through different genres or different subject matter. Two of her plays were based off of men’s other works, including her first play The Inflexible Captive, based off of Pietro Metastatsio’s Regolo Attilio and Percy, based off of Gabrielle de Vergy by Pierre-Laurent Buirette de Belloy. More took inspiration from these works and made it her own (Stott 6, 34). More also included texts on women’s rights and slavery in the aforementioned collected Poems.

Observations on a Pamphlet Title Page

Image: Title page of Observations on a Pamphlet Entitled Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents by Catharine Macaulay, 1770. Toppan Rare Books Library, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Catharine Macaulay, whose work steers us away from fiction and instead directly engages with highly charged political issues of the time, responded to Edmund Burke’s On the Thoughts of the Cause of Present Discontents with her own pamphlet Observations on a Pamphlet, Entitled Thoughts of the Cause of Present Discontents. She also wrote Observations on the Reflections of the Rt. Hon Edmund Burke on the Revolution in France (1790), re-engaging Edmund Burke only a year before her death (Hill 74-77, 128-129).


Want to Learn More?

For an overview of the life of Hannah More, read Anne Stott’s Hannah More, The First Victorian available through Coe Library.

For information on Catharine Macaulay, read The Republican Virago, The Life and Times of Catharine Macaulay, Historian by Bridget Hill.


Such examples of variation of subject matter and genre within women’s writing of the eighteenth-century should force us to reconsider how we remember them. While this exhibit focuses on only a select few texts from each author, many of them have many more works to explore, and we encourage you to do so by visiting the 4th floor reference desk at the University of Wyoming's American Heritage Center to view primary texts and rare editions of books, and by visiting University of Wyoming's Coe Library for newer editions of books that can be checked out.

Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

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