Defense Date

3-20-2012

Graduation Date

2012

Availability

Immediate Access

Submission Type

thesis

Degree Name

MA

Department

English

School

McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Laura Engel

Committee Member

Dan Watkins

Keywords

Baillie, Costello, Eighteenth century, Optical, Visual, Women

Abstract

Much women's writing in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries attempts to depict other women visually through textual description, use of optical devices, and discussion of bodies and appearances. This thesis argues that they were trying to see and show other women as a way of understanding themselves and each other by examining intersections between visual culture and text through mirrors, miniatures, and portraits. This thesis demonstrates how these works reflect larger shifts in the optical unconscious of the eighteenth century. I focus on works by Joanna Baillie and Louisa Stuart Costello, who theorize the viewing process in their prose and manipulate the viewing process in their drama and poetry, respectively. By manipulating the gaze these authors show readers new ways of seeing women, and subsequently, themselves, and seek to make them conscious of their optical unconscious; their works become the optical devices that allow this to happen.

Format

PDF

Language

English

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