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Material TransgressionsBeyond Romantic Bodies, Genders, Things$
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Kate Singer, Ashley Cross, and Suzanne Barnett

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621778

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621778.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

Werewolf Wollstonecraft

Werewolf Wollstonecraft

homo homini lupus, or, Romantic Beast Wars

(p.253) Chapter Eleven Werewolf Wollstonecraft
Material Transgressions

Chris Washington

Liverpool University Press

The judicial bestiary at the heart of eighteenth-century politics has long been evident in Enlightenment social contract debates, as Michel Foucault’s and Giorgio Agamben’s theories of biopolitics show. In this essay, I argue that Wollstonecraft is nonetheless the first thinker of ‘true’ werewolf out-lawry in her final novel, Maria, Or the Wrongs of Woman and in her letters to Godwin. In the novel, Wollstonecraft leverages what we now call new materialism as a feminist critique of heteropatriarchal society. Wollstonecraft’s new materialist thinking also scrambles gender across even human and nonhuman distinctions. To counter microcosmic familial and macrocosmic state heteropatriarchy, Wollstonecraft theorizes what I am calling, following the example of wolves and werewolves, not a family but a ‘pack’. The pack manifests as new spacetimes through what Karen Barad terms “quantum entanglements” that produce love between subjects and subjects but that never strives to reproduce binaristic pairings that reproduce the sovereign family. A pack, as Wollstonecraft’s texts demonstrate, emerges from processes of co-creation that iterate new subjects and objects without dynamic power structures structured around stable gender identities or human and nonhuman power relations.

Keywords:   Mary Wollstonecraft, New Materialism, Non-binary gender, Karen Barad, Maria: or, The Wrongs of Woman, Wollstonecraft’s Letters, Romantic gender

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