Five Questions: Richard De Ritter on Imagining Women Readers

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Richard de Ritter - Imagining Women Readers

Richard De Ritter is a Lecturer in the Long Eighteenth Century at the University of Leeds. He has a particular interest in women’s writing, having published articles on Maria Edgeworth and domesticity; Elizabeth Hamilton and education; and Jane West, patriotism and sensibility. He has also written on James Boswell and William Hazlitt and worked extensively on the writings of Priscilla Wakefield. He co-ordinates (with Jeremy Davies) the Leeds Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Literature research seminar and last year organised a two-day conference on ‘Home and Nation: Reimagining the Domestic, 1750-1850′. His first monograph, Imagining Women Readers, 1789-1820: Well-Regulated Minds, which we discuss below, was published earlier this year by Manchester University Press.

1) How did you first become interested in the ways that female readers were imagined in the Romantic period?

Initially I was curious about the way that Romantic authors like Keats, Clare and Hazlitt seemed so dismissive – even fearful – of the prospect of women reading their work. In that …read more