This book brings to the foreground the largely forgotten "Fancy" of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and follows its traces as they extend into the nineteenth and twentieth. Trivialized for its flightiness and femininity, Fancy nonetheless provided seventeenth- and eighteenth-century women writers such as Margaret Cavendish, Aphra Behn, Delarivier Manley, Eliza Haywood, and Anna Barbauld a mode of vision that could detect flaws in the Enlightenment's patriarchal systems and glimpse new, female-authored worlds and genres. In carving out unreal, fanciful spaces within the larger frame of patriarchal culture, these women writers planted Fancy-and, with it, female authorial invention-at the cornerstone of Enlightenment empirical endeavor. By finally taking Fancy seriously, this book offers an alternate genealogy of female authorship and a new framework for understanding modernity's triumph.
Maura Smyth is Assistant Professor of Liberal Arts at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Previously, she was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows
.- Introduction Fancy: The Untold Story of an Aesthetic Rogue.- Threads That Go Nowhere in The Tempest and The New Atlantis.- Finding Fancy in Leviathan and Paradise Lost.- Margaret Cavendish's Fashioning of Fancy.- Going Undercover with Aphra Behn's 'Female Pen'.- Plotting Fancy in The New Atalantis and Fantomina.- Fancy and the Tinctures, Tones, and Flavors of History.-The Persistence of Fancy.