The Labor of the Mind

The Labor of the Mind – Intellect and Gender in Enlightenment Cultures

 A Book Launch & Conversation with

Tony La Vopa, Joanna Wharton and Julia Voss

(Historic Observatory, Red Hall, Wednesday 29th November, 4.15 p.m)

Professor Antony La Vopa published his new book “The Labor of the Mind” in August 2017. It was finished during his fellowship at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg and offers new readings of the textual representations of the social and cultural logic of the Enlightenment’s trope of the manly mind. La Vopa examines the ways in which the trope was subverted or at least subtly questione in the writings of well-known and less familiar men and women, including Poullain de la Barre, The Third Earl of Shaftesbury, Madeleine de Scudéry, David Hume, Antoine-Léonard Thomas, Suzanne Curchod Necker, Denis Diderot, and Louise d’Epinay. The book traces their social networks and friendships and covers nearly a century and a half of cultural and intellectual life from France to England and Scotland and then back again. La Vopa locates, beneath the tenacity of assumed natural differences, a lexicon imbued with ambivalence, ambiguity, and argument. “The Labor of the Mind” reveals the legacy for modernity of a fraught gendering of intellectual labor.

Tony La Vopa will introduce the book in a conversation with the Fellows Joanna Wharton and Julia Voss who will contribute their own insights from their work on the relationship of gender, the arts and knowledge since the Enlightenment.

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