Nobody’s Story: The Vanishing Acts of Women Writers in the Marketplace, 1670-1920


“A superb book. . . . A scintillating, continuously rewarding reflection on authorship and its place in the modern world. This is a study in the great tradition of Ian Watt’s “The Rise of the Novel: both a brilliant work of literary scholarship and an invigorating report on modernity itself.”–Terry Castle, author of “The Apparitional Lesbian

“An exemplary instance of what many have been clamoring for: a rigorous cultural study of literature.”–William B. Warner, author of “Reading Clarissa

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Exploring the careers of five influential women writers of the Restoration and eighteenth century, Catherine Gallagher reveals the underlying connections between the increasing prestige of female authorship, the economy of credit and debt, and the rise of the novel. The “nobodies” of her title are not ignored, silenced, erased, or anonymous women. Instead, they are literal nobodies: the abstractions of authorial personae, printed books, scandalous allegories, intellectual property rights, literary reputations, debts and obligations, and fictional characters. These are the exchangeable tokens of modern authorship that lent new cultural power to the increasing number of women writers through the eighteenth century. Women writers, Gallagher discovers, invented and popularized numerous ingenious similarities between their gender and their occupation. Far from creating only minor variations on an essentially masculine figure, they delineated crucial features of “the author” for the period in general by emphasizing their trials and triumphs in the marketplace. “Woman, ” “author, ” “marketplace, ” and “fiction” thus reciprocally defined each other. Gallagher’s sophisticated and engaging study powerfully revises our understanding of each of these terms and their interdependence in eighteenth-century Britain.

Additional information

Weight 1.27 lbs
Dimensions 8.98 × 6.06 × 0.97 in


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