Novel Bodies examines the significant role that disability plays in shaping the British literary history of sexuality. Jason S. Farr shows that various eighteenth-century novelists represent disability and sexuality in flexible ways to reconfigure the political and social landscapes of eighteenth-century Britain. In imagining the lived experience of disability as analogous to-and as informed by-queer genders and sexualities, the authors featured in Novel Bodies expose emerging ideas of able-bodiedness and heterosexuality as interconnected systems that sustain dominant models of courtship, reproduction, and degeneracy. Further, they use intersections of disability and queerness to stage an array of contemporaneous debates covering topics as wide-ranging as education, feminism, domesticity, medicine, and plantation life. In his close attention to the fiction of William Bond, Eliza Haywood, Samuel Richardson, Tobias Smollett, Sarah Scott, Maria Edgeworth, and Frances Burney, Farr demonstrates that disabled and queer characters inhabit strict social orders in unconventional ways, opening up new avenues of expression for generations of readers. In doing so, Farr concludes, these works make clear that variable bodies and desires are key for understanding the literary imagination of eighteenth-century Britain.
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Number of pages: 224
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm