18th Century Disability Poetics (How do we have sex (how does literature…
18th Century Disability Poetics
How do we have sex (how does literature render sex/sex acts)?
physical--ya needs a body
two bodies coming together; often delineates physical and spiritual (platonic versus erotic)
sex as emotional act; poetry renders emotions in a particularly structured way
euphemism versus anatomy (my vegetable love grows)
sex has a normative timeline: foreplay, penetration, ejaculation/climax, end of sex
where do we put auto-eroticism/masturbation
limits of seeing sex acts as only penetrative: erasing what sex can be by overdetermining acts based on phallic insertion/penetration
How do we experience pleasure?
Johnson on Pope
body to beauty (it's not beautiful), beauty lost, but at least his face isn't awful
disability exposes how overdetermined sex/gender paradigms can be (bathroom signs)
Eloisa to Abelard
Eloisa, reading Abelard's letters, feels a lot
"line after line (35-9); "gushing" as a fluid term
Her imagination impacting her body and her writing
reading has a close relationship to the boyd; they influence each oth; reading as embodied act/practice
but also "warm in love"
feels the love Abelard put into his letters
she's alone' stuck in a solitary cell in a convent
"stir within me", "spring to thee"==activity and erotic imagination; "phantom" calling attention to lack (234)
"intercourse from soul to soul" (55): if the traditional, hetero-penetrative acts are forclosed because of Abelard's castration, the use of intercourse here suggests Pope revising how/where Eloise experiences pleasure and maybe sex acts
"soul to soul" suggests pleasure in thought
"the virgin's wish without her fears impart"--raises questions about new version of intimacy through writing and letter exchange rather than old constructions of virginity and love
Abelard as eunuch/castrated man.
"a naked lover bound and bleeding lies!" (100-106) "common be the pain": questions of mutual feeling; who gets to feel now that the penis has been removed?
"pant on thy lip, and to thy heart be pressed; / Give all thou canst--and let me dream the rest" (123-4): we have a caesura: creates a missing piece; demands reader to gasp/pause, which is about eliciting a physical response from readers
she's still going to dream the rest (i.e. auto-erotic stimulation)
still reinforces lack, and it sort of has Eloisa fill in the blanks
questions about popular love stories based on star-crossed, ill-fated lovers
revises idea of pleasure at the end, but rather about pleasure in unattainable, in yearninglonging, and the erotics of deferral