This intriguing and impressive paper discusses the matters of gender and genre in Susanna Centlivre's play The Basset-Table. The article's primary role is the variety of the theatre genres present in the eighteenth century, such as the "heroic drama" and "tragicomedy", often aimed to expose the society's vices such as gaming. Susanna Centlivre's plays fit nicely into that role, for The Basset-Table in particular was aimed at exposing both the society's vices (primarily gaming) and its inherent good nature (The Basset-Table is a comedy that ends in happiness).
That said, the article also points out how Susanna Centlivre's play, though of a particular importance to her, did not show any particular feminine literary traits, and while the main obstacle that The Basset-Table had faced in its production was social anti-female prejudice, this prejudice proved to be less formidable than Susanna Centlivre and her allies had expected to be, proving that there was nothing specifically female regarding the script of The Basset-Table despite the fact that it was written by a woman - in reality the literary atmosphere of that time was very conductive and encouraging towards such plays and Susanna Centlivre might have just taken advantage of that, in a manner of speaking.
This is a long and interesting work, aimed at discussion the social gender roles in the eighteenth century. When it comes to Alexander Pope's The Rape of The Lock, it suggests that the heroine of Pope's mock-epic is not quite whom she appears to be, for the sylphs and whatever other elementals that wait on her hand and foot can be considered to be stand-ins for young men (beaus) of Belinda's social circle implying that Belinda is a flirt at best and not very chaste at worst ("Fantasies and Moral Fictions").
Later on, Belinda's sexuality and shallow personality are emphasised further ("Satire and Scandal"), as the contents of her dressing-table ("Canto I" of the mock-epic) demonstrate a geographically broad range of cosmetic products implying that Belinda is a product of a conspicuously consumptive society without any specifically spiritual about her, and thus her mental anguish over the loss of her locks should not be taken too seriously either, even by the standards of the mock-epic poetry.
Turner, Cheryl. LIVING BY THE PEN: Women writers in the eighteenth century. 1992. New York: Routledge, 1992. Print
This is a very impressive non-fiction book by Cheryl Turner, a highly professional and skilled woman author, who for 151 pages writes a sufficiently detailed analysis of the fate, status and condition of the women writers in the eighteenth century, including Susanna Centlivre. Admittedly, Susanna Centlivre occupies only a relatively brief amount of space in the book, but Ms. Turner takes time with her to show Susanna Centlivre's success as dramatist (though not precisely with The Basset-Table) and her successful struggle with the sexist prejudice of the time.
In addition, Ms. Turner's book also mentions Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock, claiming that Alexander Pope knew of Susanna Centlivre's plays if not of Susanna Centlivre directly - a fact that explains the distant similarities between The Basset-Table and The Rape of the Lock, as discussed in the essay. It also implies that even back in the eighteenth century at least the particularly enlightened people did not have a problem with not differentiating between men and women as authors and writers either.
Pope. The Rape of the Lock. Ed. John Dixon Hunt. London: Macmillan, 1968. Print
This collection of essays examines Alexander Pope's famous mock-heroic epic poem The Rape of the Lock from various points of view, demonstrating how this remarkable piece of poetry produced so many varied reactions, both from earlier and more modern critics. Curiously, but all of these essays are essentially dramatic, ignoring the noticeable comic element of The Rape of the Lock, just as the critics of The Basset-Table also tended to focus at its sentimental and moral elements.
John Dixon Hunt's edition contains many valuable literary sources of material regarding The Rape of the Lock, but gender politics are not very important to its authors: there, male authors are male authors and female authors are female, and nothing more. Thus, it is possibly not very valuable to the essay, but still had been read largely for educational values.