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Self Society and Cosmos: Capstone

Read and Highlight

Read and highlight the text. 

  • What/who are the major influencers for your author? This will take shape through close readings of the text.
  • How much do you know about your author?  Consult biographical sources.
  • When/where did they live?  Delve into their time and place to provide historical context for their writing.

In the class example, we used Mary Wollstonecraft and Chapter Two of her text, "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman". 

Search the Catalog

We searched the library's online catalog for print and e-books about Mary Wollstonecraft.  We discovered works by and about her in the library collection.  We learned that she lived in England from 1759-1797. 

Using these materials and facts as a guide, we looked for historical works.  What was life like for women in 18th century England?  Why was she so emphatic about the rights of women and women's education? We looked for general works about English history and specific works on daily life in 18th century England.

From reading the text, we learned that she was heavily influenced by Rousseau, John Milton and Jonathan Swift so we perused their works also.

Journal Articles and Newspapers

The assignment requires that we have scholarly journal articles and reviews. We used the library's databases to begin our search. JSTOR provides a good starting point for articles from academic journals.  We searched Literary Resource Center for criticisms and reviews of her works.

Newspaper articles provided contemporary accounts of her works with subsequent articles showing us far-reaching, continuing interest in our author.  We checked the Times of London online archive since its publication dates coincided with the time and place of her life and death.

At this point in the process, it's a good idea to go back to the beginning, re-read the assignment, collect your information then see where it takes you.