University Libraries Present: Women’s History Month Colloquium Series- “I’m ‘Wife’! Stop there!”: Mary Carleton’s “Uncivil” Union

Date: 03/30/2016

Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Charles B. Wang Center - Lecture Hall 2


Dr. Kristina Lucenko, Director of the Program in Writing & Rhetoric
“I’m ‘Wife’! Stop there!”: Mary Carleton’s “Uncivil” Union

Though modern biographers agree that Mary Carleton was likely born Mary Moders, daughter of a Canterbury fiddler, in or before 1642, she represented herself as a high-born German aristocrat named Maria de Wolway willfully deceived into marriage by a greedy John Carleton and his family.  In my talk I’ll explore Mary Carleton’s multi-generic narrative and its concern with marriage as a “civil” institution. Speaking as “wife,” Carleton articulates a refusal to be exploited by English laws, which stipulate that a woman who marries must hand over her property to a husband. Carleton’s critique of women’s inferior legal status as wives appears alongside her insistence that her marriage to John Carleton is binding. Suggesting the analogy between the marriage contract and the social contract, Carleton maintains her right to proper, reasonable, and courteous governance, and enacts this privilege via the politically oriented pamphlet form.

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All are welcome!



This event is fully booked.

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