In Count de Vinevil and Lucinda, Penelope Aubin maps queer experiences among women onto her consideration of nascent British imperialism in order to protest and expose the limits of expansionist conservative discourses. Treating Aubin's texts as an occasion for reimagining literature's role in producing alterna­tive modes of imperial and libidinal desire, I claim that, like many Tory women writers of her time, Aubin's convoluted nar­ra­tive structure purposefully matches the complications of sociopolitical reality. Aubin moves from a critique of patri­archal mercantilism in Vinevil to what I call a queer critique of triumphalist epistemologies and imperialism in Lucinda. Far from being small steps on the way to the modern novel, Aubin's experimental writings represent brave attempts to re­de­fine eighteenth-century womanhood and shape more inclusive British worlds.

Contributor's Note

Edward J. Kozaczka is a graduate student at the University of Southern California. He has published on Jane Austen and Edgar Allan Poe, and he received the ASECS Catharine Macaulay Award for an essay on Penelope Aubin. He is currently working on a scholarly edition of Aubin's novel The Noble Slaves.