Richard Polwhele

(1760—1838) writer

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(1760–1838), Anglican cleric, Oxford graduate, pamphleteer, antiquarian topographer of Devon and Cornwall. A quarrelsome curate with literary aspirations, Polwhele came to notice with a jeering misogynist pamphlet, The Unsex'd Females: a Poem, dedicated to the Author of The Pursuits of Pleasure (1798, 1800). He joined in the attack begun by the Anti-Jacobin Review on William Godwin's 1798 Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Mary Wollstonecraft was Polwhele's principal target, and Godwin's Memoirs provided Polwhele with ammunition from her disreputable private life, and a link to the French Revolution and ‘Gallic licentiousness’.


From An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945).

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