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Elizabeth Dolan's study of illness, healing, and social justice in the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft, Charlotte Smith, and Mary Shelley argues that visuality was the dominant mode for understanding gendered power in the Romantic era. In their novels, poetry, travel writing, and children's literature, these three authors explore the stakes of being visible or 'marked' as women in their culture, yet invisible or disempowered as authors. Dolan addresses two major questions: How do women authors portray embodied vision to claim literary authority? And, how do women writers' experiments in literary form make visible previously unseen suffering?Dolan's research encompasses a wide range of primary sources in science and medicine, including nosology, health travel, botany, and ophthalmology, which allows her to map the resonances and disjunctions between medical theory and literature. This in turn points towards a revisioning of enduring themes in Romanticism such as the figure of the Romantic poet, the relationship between the mind and nature, sensibility and sympathy, landscape aesthetics, the reform novel, and Romantic-era science. Dolan's book is distinguished by its deep engagement with several disciplines and genres and will be a key text for understanding Romanticism, the history of medicine, and the position of the woman writer during the period.
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