Amalia Holst on the Education of the Human Race

In Isabel Karremann, Anne-Claire Michoux & Gideon Stiening (eds.), Women and the Law in the Eighteenth-Century. Stuttgart: J. B. Metzler (forthcoming)
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Amalia Holst (1758-1829) has had a rather conflicted reception within the history of feminism. Her Über die Bestimmung des Weibes zur höhern Geistesbildung (On the Vocation of Woman to the Higher Education of the Mind, 1802) is a strident defense of women’s right of access to education; however her case relies on the presuppostion of woman's traditional threefold role as "mother, spouse, and housewife." In this essay, in addition to disclosing new details about Holst's life, I contend that a closer reading of her text reveals a rather more radical project motivating her discussion, and that this helps alleviate concerns about her alleged unoriginality, conservatism, and elitism.

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Corey W. Dyck
University of Western Ontario


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