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Title:Appropriating the Restoration hero(ine): intertextuality and the transformation of gender identity, 1677-1759
Author(s):Holguin, Marilyn M
Director of Research:Markley, Robert; Francis, Bettina M.; Pollock, Anthony
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Markley, Robert; Pollock, Anthony
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Gray, Catharine; Freeman, Lisa
Department / Program:English
Discipline:English Literature
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
British literature
Restoration drama
Abstract:My dissertation considers how and why representations of female suffering in Restoration tragedy had a profound impact on the development of mid-eighteenth century novels and plays, focusing primarily on the work of Aphra Behn, Thomas Southerne, John Dryden, Samuel Richardson and David Garrick. Previous scholarship on Restoration "she-tragedies" has tended to emphasize how their heroines’ descent into hysteria, madness, and death implies a total loss of female agency and power. My project challenges this reigning interpretation: through detailed readings of Richardson’s and Garrick's adaptations of Restoration tragedy, I argue that these influential mid-century authors transform the spectacle of female suffering into a resource for female empowerment and authority over the public sphere. My four chapters analyze Restoration tragic female characters as strongly influencing eighteenth-century writers, who appropriated and adapted them in relation to changing cultural tastes, especially as regards more restricted representations of female sexuality and the heightened desire to promote a seemingly less complex version of female virtue. Scholarship in the long eighteenth-century has suffered from a tendency to emphasize distinctions between the "licentious" culture of the Restoration and the “reformed” tastes of mid-eighteenth-century readers and audiences; by allowing these two cultural moments to speak to one another, my project challenges those distinctions and considers the more nuanced ways mid-eighteenth century’s writers like Richardson and Garrick were informed and influenced by Restoration drama.
Issue Date:2016-04-20
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Marilyn Holguin
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-07-07
Date Deposited:2016-05

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