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In this book, 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.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521016421
ISBN-10: 0521016428
Format: Paperback
(228mm x 152mm x 20mm)
Pages: 350
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 15-May-2003
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Felicity A. Nussbaum

Felicity Nussbaum is Professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of Torrid Zones: Maternity, Sexuality and Empire in Eighteenth-Century English Narratives (1995).

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