Thursday, February 12, 2009

Times have moved on in 200 years. Here's a real quotation from some Serious Research. Introducing James Macdonald, Highland minister and European traveller:-

"This lady would have been happy did she consider that the sphere of Woman's exertion is pointed out by nature; that she who pretends to poesy, philosophy and elevation of mind, does but in reality dream a baseless and most dangerous dream; and that household cares, work of hand, and the little attentions of ordinary life are her honour as well as her happiness! Female Metaphysicians and Poets, like Female Theologians, are almost always mad, or enthusiastic or miserable, or all the three in one."

(From a letter dated 1800.)

Okay, so we lady researchers are officially mad, enthusiastic, miserable or all three.

Does this surprise anyone?!

1 comment:

Scholar Mom said...

The quote is fabulous! As I read the book 'Mama, Ph.D.', a collection of essays by scholars who are moms, I see that times have indeed not changed much at all. The reality is that moms have an enormous load of responsibility and somehow if we are called to scholarship, we are really in for a pile of work. It might be easier to focus solely on household affairs, but I am certain that I would become more unbalanced as a result. My sanity is helped by having other interests! Sometimes I don't know how I'll get it all done, but at least I will stay afloat and eventually finish this step. It's clear that moms in academia need mutual support and encouragement because it's not such an easy combination!