Tag: Morality

My Dear Sister and Incomparable Friend!

The Swedish press became an established medium during the eighteenth century. The second half of the century produced a number of periodicals expressly designed for a female readership; Frustugo Bibliothek, Fruntimmers-Tidningar (the Women’s News), Blad för Fruntimer (Magazine for Women), and many more. A number of these periodicals address the reader in what sounds like a female voice.The publishers and writers were, however, on the whole anonymous, hidden behind signatures and pseudonyms; games with a gender-crossing play on names were legion at the time. Male writers often adopted a female identity with a woman’s name, or wrote from a female position as woman’s intimate and best friend. Conversely, the legal and social circumstances were such that, in those cases where it actually was a woman wielding the pen, she was seldom able to sign the text in her own name.At the time of the launch of a literature that invited intimacy, addressed specifically to women readers, the female voice was thus often still disguised.

… for Young and Inexperienced Persons of my Sex

The Danish authors Charlotte Dorothea Biehl and Sophia Lovisa Charlotte Baden, along with a number of anonymous women, wrote prose that was both moralising and emotionally instructive. Biehl in her moral tales. Baden in her moral epistolary tales.Family issues and scheming love stories are key to a protracted plot, the mainspring of which is often a dispute concerning a contract of marriage. The major role models were Richardson, his French disciple Marmontel, and the German writer Gellert.

She Was a Woman in the Full Meaning of the Word

In the 1810s the talented Baroness Sophie von Knorring had published six novels. She now only holds a place as a footnote in literary history. The reason may be that she was a paradox? An aristocrat of a nearly Gustavian stamp, yet also an unsparing critic of the arrogance of birth, she belongs to the most refined milieus, which she exposes without mercy. Her critics refer to her outmoded view of women and believe that her main topic is the indissolubility of marriage.To a modern reader, the real purpose of Knorring’s novelistic art is to describe the issues connected with female eroticism and the idealising power of passion. The message of the moral double standards, as well as the subtle nuances that distinguish ‘pure’ from ‘bad’ women, is what Knorring tirelessly analyses. When in her novels Sophie von Knorring examines how women’s passions become ‘criminal’ compared with men’s moral double standards, she is in the good company of the great authors of world literature. Germaine de Staël, Rousseau, and Johanna von Schopenhauer.