Date of Award

2003

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing

First Advisor

Quinsey, Katherine M.,

Keywords

Literature, English.

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

This project shows how four eighteenth-century women writers dealt with the dawning of consciousness about the forces acting on the female body and the embodiment that consequently shapes the role of women in society. The issue of female experience in the body is explored in Charlotte Lennox's The Female Quixote (1752), Sarah Scott's A Description of Millenium Hall (1762), Fanny Burney's Evelina (1778), and Maria Edgeworth's Belinda (1801). In each of these novels the issues of female self-awareness, the cultural construction of femininity and the female body, and the concepts of education, masquerade, deception, illness, and sexuality are explored with reference to their influence on how women experienced life in the world, and in their bodies. The historical context of this investigation is based in eighteenth-century medicine, philosophy, and didactic literature and the cultural notion of sensibility, supported by modern feminist, literary, medical, and philosophical approaches to female embodiment and literature. These sources allow for a multi-layered cultural critique of eighteenth-century gender constructions, and the role of women in society. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)Dept. of English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2003 .M335. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 42-03, page: 0769. Adviser: Katherine M. Quinsey. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2003.

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