Beyond Recovery: Women in the Arts (Aphra Behn Society panel #2 at ASECS 2015)

full name / name of organization: 
Aphra Behn Society for Women in the Arts, 1660-1830
contact email: 

In recent decades, much important scholarship has been done to make available women's writing for evaluation and examination. Aphra Behn, Eliza Haywood, Charlotte Lennox, and Sarah Fielding have become major figures within our discussions of the period. These developments have been further enhanced by new technological advances extending access to the archive of women's writing. Accordingly, our understanding of women's writing and its role within the world of eighteenth-century publication has become complicated in rich and important ways. For contemporary scholars, the wealth of materials now available through technologies such as digital archives and on-line journals offers a view of the period unprecedented in its breadth, depth, and diversity. New technologies also offer innovative modes of engagement and analysis for understanding the function of texts. Equally significant, the explosion of resources has also exploded categories such amatory, sentimental, or didactic literature, revealing that much women's writing is the product of sophisticated maneuvering. The phrase "Beyond Recovery" thus refers simultaneously to the current state of scholarship on women's writing, which has progressed beyond "recovering" female-authored work to include an expanding repertoire of methods for analyzing such work; and to the idea that this methodological and material expansion has exploded old modes and canons "beyond recovery." This panel will continue the discussion of methods, materials, and opportunities in the eighteenth century and today. Papers might offer new readings of familiar or new texts and contexts, investigate the current state of scholarship on women's writing, or propose new directions in the field. Contact Dr. Robin Runia at