Dianne Dugaw’s Memoirs of Scandalous Women (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011), a five-volume annotated edition of life-writings by 18th-century British women, surveys the period from 1740 to 1808 in six narratives that span social class from subaltern to aristocratic milieus. These courtesans and disguised, cross-dressing soldiers, active in Britain, Europe, India, and the Americas used life experience and life-writing to wrest control of their public images and speak in their own voices. Dugaw’s general introduction and individual bio-critical headnotes frame the theoretical issues presented by these ‘lives’ that drew admiration in their day in publications that subsequently became unfashionable, ideologically illegible, or unacceptable under later moral filters and fell out of print. This edition, in the Chawton House Series Women’s Memoirs, makes them available after two centuries of oblivion.
Dianne Dugaw is a professor in the UO Department of English. She is a CSWS faculty affiliate and CSWS Road Scholar presenter.
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