Title page for ETD etd-0129103-124729

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Thompson, Phyllis Ann
Author's Email Address phyllis@lsu.edu
URN etd-0129103-124729
Title Subversive Bodies: Embodiment as Discursive Strategy in Women's Popular Literature of the Long Eighteenth Century
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Jim S. Borck Committee Chair
Michelle A. Masse' Committee Member
Sharon A. Weltman Committee Member
Susannah Brietz Monta Committee Member
Irene DiMaio Dean's Representative
  • medicine
  • eighteenth century
  • english literature
  • body
  • women
Date of Defense 2002-12-10
Availability unrestricted
“Subversive Bodies: Embodiment as Discursive Strategy in Women’s Popular Literature of the Long Eighteenth Century” examines literary representations of the body as strategies of resistance. This study demonstrates that Manley's Secret Memoirs from the New Atalantis, Haywood's Female Spectator, and Burney's Journal and Letters, as well as unpublished receipt books for medicinal and cosmetic preparations, challenge the prevailing masculinist notion of a passive, distinct topography of womanhood and lay the groundwork for a feminist tradition of recognizing the body as an explicit part of experience. Tracing the origins of today's critical perspectives, my study draws on the insights of recent feminist theories of the body but remains historically contextualized through its focus on medical science and law. It demonstrates that the bodies in Manley, Haywood, Burney, and unpublished receipt books challenge the bodily constructions and associated gender meanings that the disciplines of medical science and law have traditionally reinforced. My analysis deepens our contemporary understanding of the complex relations between gender, bodies, and discourse in general.
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