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Book Views Romantic Era Writers’ Views of Motherhood

Posted September 15, 2003

HOLLAND – Dr. Julie Kipp of the Hope College English faculty has written the book “Romanticism, Maternity, and the Body Politic,” recently published by Cambridge University Press as part of its Cambridge Studies in Romanticism series.

The book explores Romantic writers’ treatments of motherhood and maternal bodies in the context of the legal, medical, educational, and socioeconomic debates about motherhood that were popular during the period. It argues that these discussions turned the physical processes associated with mothering into matters of national importance.

The book’s primary concern is to underline the way that writers of the Romantic era, which ran from the late 18th century to the mid-19th century, used representations of mother-child bonds to naturalize, endorse, and critique Enlightenment constructions of interpersonal and intercultural relations. Kipp examines representations of motherhood in the work of diverse Romantic-period authors (Mary Wollstonecraft, Percy Shelley, Maria Edgeworth, and Walter Scott), considering particularly the ways in which constructions of maternity serve nationalist ends for these writers.

Work on the book was supported by a Summer Stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a Towsley Research Fellowship from Hope College, both in 2001.

Kipp has published articles on Robert Browning, Friedrich Schlegel, and Maria Edgeworth, and made numerous presentations at professional conferences. She is currently working on another book, tentatively titled “Remembrance, Rebellion, and the Bardic Nation: Irish and Scottish Romantic-period Women's Writings.” She is past managing editor of “Nineteenth-Century Contexts: An Interdisciplinary Journal.” She also served for one year as production manager and another year as assistant editor of “Bullán: An Irish Studies Journal.” Kipp has been an assistant professor of English at Hope College since 1998. During the 2003-04 academic year she is also serving as acting director of the Women’s Studies program.

She earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate from the University of Notre Dame. The university presented her with the 1997-1998 Shaheen Graduate Student Award in the Humanities, awarded to one student yearly in the humanities division; she also received the Notre Dame English Department’s “Award for Excellence in Teaching” in 1997.

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