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By Laurence C Thompson

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It is interesting especially because the utopian world and utopists described in Millenium Hall seem so conventional. Yet here Mancel argues against a naturalized or normative measure for judging others, invoking myth to do so when she says: Procrustes has been branded through all ages with the name of tyrant; and, principally, as it appears, from fitting the body of every stranger to a bed which he kept as the necessary standard, cutting off the legs of those whose height exceeded the length of it and stretching on the rack such as fell short of that measure, til they attained the requisite proportion.

32 Gender and Utopia in the Eighteenth Century By the mid-eighteenth century, then, utopia is achieved by way of gender exchanges that represent difference as deficit rather than as communism, hybridity, or racial otherness. Unlike Blazing World it is not the exceptional woman who must be transported beyond the pole to achieve power, but the ordinary or even “deficient” woman who, by alliance with other marginalized single women, achieves utopia. That is the radical root of this apparently decorous eighteenth-century paradise.

14 Female 14 In his essay on Millenium Hall, Gary Kelly emphasizes the role of religion to the work, specifically Anglicanism, and the importance of Providence to the accomplishment of the utopian project. See Gary Kelly. “Women’s Provi(de)nce: Religion and Bluestocking Feminism in Sarah Scott’s Millenium Hall (1762),” Rebecca D’Monté and Nicole Pohl (eds), Female Communities 1600–1800: Literary Visions and Cultural Realities (London: Macmillan Press, 2000), pp. 166–183. Kelly says, for example: The plot that is implicit in the combined structure of frame narrative and description and inset narratives in Millenium Hall may be summarized as follows: the economy and culture of the dominant social class, a courtly and patriarchal gentry, oppress women in specific ways, resistance to which can only be sustained by reliance on subjective cultivation and religious principle, and escape from which is beyond the individual’s control: further progress to repair and reform this oppressive system can only be accomplished by providential interventions.

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