This book explores how the publication of women's life writing influenced the reputation of its writers and of the genre itself during the long nineteenth century. It provides case studies of Frances Burney, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Robinson and Mary Hays, four writers whose names were caught up in debates about the moral and literary respectability of publishing the 'private'. Focusing on gender, genre and authorship, this study examines key works of life writing by and about these women, and the reception of these texts. It argues for the importance of life writing-a crucial site of affective and imaginative identification-in shaping authorial reputation and afterlife. The book ultimately constructs a fuller picture of the literary field in the long nineteenth century and the role of women writers and their life writing within it. -- .