Frances Wright Criticism - Essay

William Randall Waterman (essay date 1924)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Nashoba Concluded," in Frances Wright, Columbia University Press, 1924, pp. 111-33.

[In the following excerpt. Waterman reviews Frances Wright's published plan for her cooperative community of Nashoba and argues that Wright's advocacy of equal rights and sexual freedom contributed to her reputation as a radical.]

Shortly after her return [from England in 1827] Frances [Wright] carried out the suggestion in her letter to James Richardson, and made public her famous "Explanatory Notes, respecting the Nature and Object of the Institution at Nashoba, and of the principles upon which it is founded: Addressed to the Friends of Human Improvement, in all Countries and...

(The entire section is 1380 words.)

Helen Heineman (essay date 1983)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Frances Wright and the Second Utopia," in Restless Angels: The Friendship of Six Victorian Women. Ohio University Press, 1983, pp. 23-62

[In the following excerpt, Heineman discusses Frances Wright's correspondence concerning the establishment of Nashoba, a colony intended to serve as a model of emancipation and equality.]

We have seen that among early peoples the quite normal man is warrior and hunter, and the quite normal woman house-wife and worker-round-the-house; and it is quite conceivable that if no intermediate types had arisen, human society might have remained stationary in these simple occupations. But when types of men began to...

(The entire section is 5637 words.)

Celia Morris Eckhardt (essay date 1984)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Jane Austen and the Rebel," in Fanny Wright: Rebel in America, Harvard University Press, 1984, pp. 1–24.

[In the following excerpt, Eckhardt contrasts Frances Wright, who even in her youth expressed outrage at oppression and willfully entered into political activism, with the more iconic and conventional figure of femininity drawn by Jane Austen.]

On the sixth of September, 1795, a child was born on the southeast coast of Scotland whose life proved as vital as any could be in the nineteenth century, and almost as full of pain. Her name was Frances Wright, and John Stuart Mill would call her one of the most important women of her day.1


(The entire section is 11104 words.)

Susan S. Kissel (essay date 1993)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Wright, the American Suffragists, Mill, and Whitman," in In Common Cause: The "Conservative" Frances Trollope and the "Radical" Frances Wright, Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1993, pp. 94-114.

[In the following essay, Kissel contends that Frances Wright, by generating both public opprobrium and sympathy, significantly advanced the cause of women's rights in the United States and Britain.]

Rejected by the majority, Frances Wright's ideas nevertheless came to affect every level of American society. Those who have focused attention on her career have agreed on the paradox of her life, its electricity and color reduced to seeming paralysis and...

(The entire section is 9837 words.)

Elizabeth Ann Bartlett (essay date 1994)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Frances Wright," in Liberty, Equality, Sorority: The Origins and Interpretation of American Feminist Thought: Frances Wright, Sarah Grimke, and Margaret Fuller, Carlson Publishing, 1994, pp. 25-55.

[In the following excerpt, Bartlett considers Wright's moral and political convictions, which grew out of her intellectual commitments to liberal democracy and Utopian socialism.]

Wright's Feminist Thought

The juxtaposition of all of the contrasting philosophical backgrounds and assumptions of moral sense, utilitarianism, and Utopian socialism creates a complexity and richness in Wright's feminism. From the Enlightenment Wright drew the...

(The entire section is 8260 words.)