The resurgence of marriage as a transnational institution, same-sex or otherwise, draws upon as much as it departs from enlightenment ideologies of sex, gender, and sexuality which this collection aims to investigate, interrogate, and conceptualize anew. Coming to terms with heteronormativity is imperative for appreciating the literature and culture of the eighteenth century writ large, as well as the myriad imaginaries of sex and sexuality that the period bequeaths to the present. This collection foregrounds British, European, and, to a lesser extent, transatlantic heteronormativities in order to pose vital if vexing questions about the degree of continuity subsisting between heteronormativities of the past and present, questions compounded by the aura of transhistoricity lying at the heart of heteronormativity as an ideology. Contributors attend to the fissures and failures of heteronormativity even as they stress the resilience of its hegemony: reconfiguring our sense of how gender and sexuality came to be mapped onto space; how public and private spheres were carved up, or gendered and sexual bodies socially sanctioned; and finally how literary traditions, scholarly criticisms, and pedagogical practices have served to buttress or contest the legacy of heteronormativity.
Table of Contents
Of closed doors and open hatches: heteronormative plots in 18th-century (women's) studies. Conjugal capitalism: the domestication of public space. Marriage, sexuality, and the meaning of the wedding night in 18th-century France. John Wilkes's 'Closet': hetero privacy and the annotation of desire in An Essay on Woman. Monstrous gallantry: protective masculinity in the 1790s. Queer counterhistory and the specter of effeminacy. The failure of heteronormativity in the gothic novel. John Gabriel Stedman, heteronormativity, and white men's gender trouble. Teaching 18th-century literature in a transgendered classroom.
Ana de Freitas Boe is Associate Professor of English Literature at Baldwin Wallace University, USA, and Abby Coykendall is Professor of English Language and Literature at Eastern Michigan University, USA.