9780521016421

The Limits of the Human: Fictions of Anomaly, Race and Gender in the Long Eighteenth Century

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780521016421

  • ISBN10:

    0521016428

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2003-06-23
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Summary

Felicity Nussbaum examines literary and cultural representations of human difference in England and its empire during the long eighteenth century. With a special focus on women's writing, Nussbaum analyzes canonical and lesser-known novels and plays from the Restoration to abolition. She considers a range of anomalies (defects, disease, and disability) as they intermingle with ideas of femininity, masculinity, and race to define 'normalcy' as national identity. Incorporating writings by Behn, Burney, and the Bluestockings, as well as Southerne, Shaftesbury, Johnson, Sterne, and Equiano, Nussbaum treats a range of disabilities - being mute, blind, lame - and physical oddities such as eunuchism and giantism as they are inflected by emerging notions of a racial femininity and masculinity. She shows that these corporeal features, perceived as aberrant and extraordinary, combine in the popular imagination to reveal a repertory of differences located between the extremes of splendid and horrid novelty.

Table of Contents

List of illustrations viii
Acknowledgments xi
Introduction: monstrous tales 1(22)
PART I ANOMALY AND GENDER
1 Fictions of defect: Aphra Behn and Eliza Haywood
23(35)
2 Effeminacy and femininity: Sarah Fielding, Elizabeth Montagu,and Johnson
58(26)
3 Odd women, mangled men: the bluestockings and Sterne
84(25)
4 Scarred women: Frances Burney and smallpox
109(26)
PART II RACE AND GENDER
5 Racial femininity: "our British fair"
135(16)
6 Black women: why Imoinda turns white
151(38)
7 Black men: Equiano, Sancho, and being a man
189(24)
8 Black parts: racial counterfeit on stage
213(26)
Coda: between races
239(18)
Notes 257(42)
Bibliography 299(20)
Index 319

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