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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.56, No.5, 947 ~ 972, 2010
Rewriting Georgic: Anna Letitia Barbauld`s “Washing-Day”
신경숙 Kyung Sook Shin
Anna Letitia Barbauld`s poem “Washing-Day” (1797) has sparked a variety of feminist critical endeavors over the past two decades. While many feminist literary critics try to salvage the poem as a successful tongue-in-cheek riposte directed at the male dominant literary world, more rigorous Marxist feminists accuse Barbauld of being limited by her own middle-class woman`s view on women`s domestic labor. Legitimate as they may be, these readings fail to elucidate Barbauld`s place in a larger literary and intellectual discourse during the eighteenth century. In this paper I read “Washing-Day” as a woman`s georgic, a genre or mode concerned with agricultural labor, the public value of which was highly recognized in eighteenth-century England. Alluding to canonical texts by writers like Shakespeare, Milton, and Pope, Barbauld`s “loaded lines” in mock-heroic form create a space in which the women`s domestic labor of washing interrupts men`s daily routines and disrupts their poetic assumptions. While she makes women`s work visible, Barbauld also addresses its quintessential nature. Women`s work is affective labor; women have to labor physically and mentally to produce the desired domestic comfort. By allowing the image of the soap “bubble” to echo with many “bubbles” in other writers` texts, from the soap bubbles the narrator used to play with as a child to the hot-air balloon “bubble” of the Montgolfier brothers, Barbauld pleasantly equates work and day-dreaming, men`s toil and child`s play, and finally public, scientific, and recognized labor and private, domestic, and imaginative activities.
Key Words
바볼드,「빨래하는 날」, “Washing Day”, 죠직, georgic, 상상, 낭만적과학, 가사노동, Barbauld, georgic, mock-heroic, balloon, imagination, Romantic science, women`s work,영미문학, 문화연구, 비교문학, 비평이론, English and American Literature, cultural studies, comparative literature, critical theory
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