"Lost in a Forgetfulness of My Real Self": The Performative Bodies of Charlotte Charke and Cindy Sherman
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Linda A. Kinnahan
abject, feminism, gaze, mimesis, postmodernism, self-portraiture
This thesis explores autobiographical representations of selfhood from an interdisciplinary perspective. To illustrate the theoretical intersections between visual and literary self-representation, I focus on eighteenth-century British actress Charlotte Charke's "scandalous" memoir and contemporary American artist Cindy Sherman's self-reflexive photographs. Despite their many differences, each woman creates various "texts" that similarly complicate the place of the self within autobiographical representation.
After Chapter One establishes the theoretical and contextual background, Chapter Two explores textual constructions of self, identity and performance. Expanding on these issues of self-representation, Chapter Three considers a women's body as a text, and looks at ways in which performative elements of gender are inscribed. Finally, Chapter Four concludes by interrogating Charke and Sherman's "performances" as subversive forms of masquerade. Reaching across disciplines, nations and centuries, Charke and Sherman's works blur distinctions between self, authenticity, and gender through performative representations, subsequently destabilizing essentialist notions of identity
Gissinger, D. (2007). "Lost in a Forgetfulness of My Real Self": The Performative Bodies of Charlotte Charke and Cindy Sherman (Master's thesis, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1553