Sexual Morality, Gender Equality, and Pioneering Women Writers in Brandes’ Comparative Writings

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The aim of the contribution, “Sexual Morality, Gender Equality, and Pioneering Women Writers in Brandes’ Comparative Writings”, is to examine Brandes’ large-scale emancipation project which combines a comparatist approach with ideas concerning the reform of sexual morality. Although Brandes saw himself as a supporter of the women’s movement, his work is characterized by a vigorous, masculine way of thinking, declared to be modern. While this led him to support female authors who wrote about what he saw as strong and independent women, he was prejudiced against women who championed the cause of women differently than the way he thought was right. Women writers who either practised what literary scholar Lauren Berlant called “female complaint” or demanded strict sexual morality were anathema to him.
To prevent a hasty classification of Brandes’ attitude towards gender issues, the various roles Brandes took in the literary field need to be differentiated. After a short overview of the debate about the emancipation of women before Brandes, the contribution examines Brandes’ role as an early critic and translator of John Stuart Mill, his role as a literary historian with a strong interest in comparative literature, his role in the so-called morality feud in the 1880s, and, finally, Brandes as a literary critic of fiction by contemporary female writers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGeorg Brandes : Pioneer of Comparative Literature and Global Public Intellectual.
EditorsJens Bjerring-Hansen, Anders Engberg-Pedersen, Lasse Horne Kjældgaard
Place of PublicationLeiden
Publication date2023
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-52603-7
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-04-68219-1
Publication statusPublished - 2023
SeriesInternationale Forschungen zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft Online

ID: 370791647