This essay reads Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Short Residence in Sweden, Norway and Denmark (1796) alongside Gayatri Spivak’s concept of planetarity and Martin Heidegger’s phenomenology of mood. The essay suggests that A Short Residence educates readers in a planetary mindset by conveying a correspondence between two positions: an involuntary and a reflected orientation towards the earth and its human and non- human forms. Mood inscribes provisionality as a method that lends elasticity to Wollstonecraft’s cosmopolitan philosophy, bequeathing to this philosophy the obligation and capacity to generate its own revisions and critique. This method, or way of being and writing about being, can be understood as training, in Spivak’s words, to “planet-feel” and “planet-think.” Provisionality as both mood and method of inquiry compels Wollstonecraft’s narrator to re-write the self and anticipate alterity; to ponder the incomplete state of her experiences and convictions without being paralyzed by them; and, in the throes of doubt, to impart to readers her responsiveness to everything that the earth discloses to mind and body.
Steiner, Enit Karafili
"Mood, Provisionality, and Planetarity in Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark,"
Criticism: Vol. 61:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/criticism/vol61/iss1/3