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By A. Culley

British Women's lifestyles Writing, 1760-1840 brings jointly for the 1st time quite a lot of print and manuscript assets to illustrate women's leading edge method of self-representation. It examines canonical writers, equivalent to Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Robinson, and Helen Maria Williams, among others.

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41 These insights suggest the inadequacy of reading early Methodism in terms of a marriage of evangelicalism and domestic ideology. Second generation Methodist women, such as Sarah Lawrence and Mary Tooth, also maintain this conception of the family and subscribe to the values of an earlier era. For these life writers the auto/biographical Life Writing of Early Methodist Women 25 structure of birth, marriage, and death is therefore replaced by an account of spiritual rebirth within a religious fellowship and a shared history of female bonds.

As a Methodist preacher and the widow of the former Anglican vicar she embodied a moment of coexistence of an earlier era and her writing reveals her desire to prevent schism in Madeley between the Methodists and the Established Church. In the year before her death, Fletcher records in her diary ‘if my papers fall into any hands, I entreat these lines may never be left out.

37 His reaction to the marriage of Mary and John Fletcher in A Short Account of the Life and Death of the Rev. John Fletcher (1786) suggests his preference for single sex communities rather than companionate marriage. He notes, ‘although I could in nowise condemn this marriage; yet on one account it gave me pain’. ’38 This privileging of homosociality over heterosexual relationships influenced the identities and stories of the Fletcher circle. 41 These insights suggest the inadequacy of reading early Methodism in terms of a marriage of evangelicalism and domestic ideology.

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