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Dying to KnowScientific Epistemology and Narrative in Victorian England$
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George Levine

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780226475363

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226475387.001.0001

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Self-Effacement Revisited

Self-Effacement Revisited

Women and Scientific Autobiography

(p.126) 6 Self-Effacement Revisited
Dying to Know

George Levine

University of Chicago Press

This chapter addresses the “masculinity” or “femininity”to particular modes of thinking and action to be reflections of other writers' views. Women writing about themselves often reaffirm the mythology, but more often make it seem merely silly. The texture of the women's autobiographies tends to be somewhat different from that of the men. The woman's path to male vocation deepens the implications of the dying-to-know narrative. Autobiographies of Mary Somerville, Harriet Martineau, and Beatrice Webb are concerned to avoid making the religious, moral, or social objective determine their scientific knowledge. They had to fulfill the ideals of science as thoroughly as the men and with far more distractions. The irony of women's exclusion from the practice of science in the nineteenth century is intensified by the autobiographies presented.

Keywords:   femininity, masculinity, women writing, Mary Somerville, Harriet Martineau, Beatrice Webb, scientific knowledge, autobiographies

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