Abstract/Details

Romantic incest: Gender, desire, and defiance


2008 2008

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Abstract (summary)

This dissertation examines the representation of consanguineous incest in eighteenth-century and Romantic literature its relation to questions of gender, sexuality, and challenges to authority. I consider the significant recurrence of themes surrounding this most forbidden of sexual desires as they are taken up and qualified by writers of the “long eighteenth century,” ranging from Defoe and Horace Walpole to Matthew “Monk” Lewis, Byron, and the Shelleys. A crucial difference between the Romantics and their eighteenth-century predecessors, with the notable exception of Horace Walpole, is their willingness to present incest as a conscious desire rather than an unwitting act.

Building on the work of Eve Sedgwick and Martha Nussbaum in their theories of the emotions and of Peter Thorslev and Alan Richardson in Romantic studies, I investigate how selected writers confronted the challenge of presenting the violation, especially the conscious violation, of one of the strongest sexual taboos. Contesting critical claims that incest is treated in Romantic-era literature as the epitome of self-reflexive and narcissistic love, I argue that it must rather be understood as related to the Romantic destabilization of normative gender roles and exploration of alternative political conditions.

Indexing (details)


Subject
British and Irish literature
Classification
0593: British and Irish literature
Identifier / keyword
Language, literature and linguistics; English literature; Gender; Incest; Romantic drama; Romantic poetry; Sexuality
Title
Romantic incest: Gender, desire, and defiance
Author
Stansbury, Heather Lyn
Number of pages
230
Publication year
2008
Degree date
2008
School code
0250
Source
DAI-A 70/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9781109000832
Advisor
Hamli, Nicholas
University/institution
University of Washington
University location
United States -- Washington
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3345625
ProQuest document ID
304440524
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/304440524
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