Aesthetic Economies of Immasculation: Capitalism and Gender in Wollstonecraft's Letters from Sweden

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Though commonly relegated to the category of personal memoir, Wollstonecraft's Letters from Sweden belong among her most socially and politically engaged texts. Indeed, the Letters mark a major turning point in the development of Wollstonecraft's gender theory: her experiences working in Scandinavia as a legal proxy for Gilbert Imlay lead her away from the idealization of republican masculinity which characterizes the two Vindications. By inhabiting Imlay's subject-position, Wollstonecraft confronts the ways in which even the most apparently liberating forms of immasculation are conditioned by the discourses of the sublime and the practices of mercantile appropriation, with irretrievably damaging effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-210
Number of pages18
JournalEighteenth Century
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011


  • Aesthetic theory
  • Gender theory
  • Letters from Sweden
  • Mary Woolstonecraft
  • Masculinity
  • Political economy
  • Republicanism
  • Spectatorship
  • Subject formation
  • The sublime
  • Travel narrative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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