The Female Thermometer: Eighteenth-Century Culture and the Invention of the Uncanny (Ideologies of Desire)

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9780195080988: The Female Thermometer: Eighteenth-Century Culture and the Invention of the Uncanny (Ideologies of Desire)

The work of leading scholar Terry Castle, called by the New York Times "always engaging...consistently fascinating," has helped to revolutionize eighteenth-century studies. The Female Thermometer brings together Castle's essays on the phantasmagoric side of eighteenth-century literature and culture. Taking as her emblem the fanciful "female thermometer," an imaginary instrument invented by eighteenth-century satirists to measure levels of female sexual arousal, Castle explores what she calls the "impinging strangeness" of the eighteenth-century imagination--the ways in which the rationalist imperatives of the age paradoxically worked to produce what Freud would later call the uncanny. In essays on doubling and fantasy in the novels of Defoe and Richardson, sexual impersonators and the dream-like world of the eighteenth-century masquerade, magic-lantern shows, automata, and other surreal inventions of Enlightenment science, and the hallucinatory obsessions of Gothic fiction, Castle offers a haunting portrait of a remarkable epoch. Her collection explores the links between material culture, gender, and the rise of modern forms and formulas of subjectivity, effectively rewriting the cultural history of modern Europe from a materialist and feminist perspective.

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About the Author:


Terry Castle is Professor of English at Stanford University. She is the author of The Apparitional Lesbian (1993) and editor of the Oxford's forthcoming The Literature of Lesbianism: A Historical Anthology.

Review:


"The Female Thermometer is filled with incisive observations that make us re-examine the broad preconceptions we hold about the 18th century and reassess some of its specific cultural artifacts."--The New York Times


"Lively new study of 18th-century culture....Intriguing book."--International Herald Tribune


"This is an attractive and important book....There is no essay in this book that isn't a pleasure to read, and none that isn't at the same time supported...by extensive and wide-ranging documentation."--Times Literary Supplement


"The whole collection is informed not only by Castle's wide-ranging erudition... but by her wit and her persuasive and intriguing interpretations. ...she can always take her argument one step further, adding one more turn to the screw. This is a book to be read by specialists in the different authors--Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Radcliffe--as well as savoured by those interested in eighteenth-century culture and the history of the spectral idea."--Eighteenth-Century Fiction


"Terry Castle is well equipped to explore the dark Other of the age of enlightenment, as her book on masquerade demonstrated. Her knowledge of the back alleys and "no trespassing" byways of the culture is minute and particular; and she can not only produce out-of-the-way facts and figures, publications and performances, but she can brilliantly and convincingly articulate their significance for the culture."--ighteenth-Century Fiction


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Terry Castle
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ISBN 10: 019508098X ISBN 13: 9780195080988
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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 1995. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 226 x 150 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. The work of leading scholar Terry Castle, called by the New York Times always engaging.consistently fascinating, has helped to revolutionize thinking about lesbian studies and eighteenth-century literature. Reenvisioning the era as peculiarly alive with complexity, in which gender, sexuality, and culture are in constant flux, she offers provocative new theories on culture and sexual identity. This collection offers several of Castle s liveliest essays on female identity from the eighteenth century to the early twentieth century. Throughout the book are woven themes which are constant in Castle s work: fantasy, hallucination, travesty, transgression, and sexual ambiguity. Like the mythical thermometer of the title, which was purported to measure female lasciviousness, literature is filled with devices for quantifying elements of women s nature and sexuality which are hard to define-or uncomfortable to confront. Looking at images that mask or mystify female nature, like the masquerade or ghosts, these essays offer a challenging look at a fascinating range of issues involved in the exploration of gender studies.The inaugural volume in Oxford s Ideologies of Desire, The Female Thermometer foreshadows the thought-provoking and forward-looking nature of the books that will make up the series. Its revisionist version of eighteenth-century life will intrigue all those concerned with cultural studies and issues of gender relations throughout history. Bookseller Inventory # AAW9780195080988

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 1995. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 226 x 150 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. The work of leading scholar Terry Castle, called by the New York Times always engaging.consistently fascinating, has helped to revolutionize thinking about lesbian studies and eighteenth-century literature. Reenvisioning the era as peculiarly alive with complexity, in which gender, sexuality, and culture are in constant flux, she offers provocative new theories on culture and sexual identity. This collection offers several of Castle s liveliest essays on female identity from the eighteenth century to the early twentieth century. Throughout the book are woven themes which are constant in Castle s work: fantasy, hallucination, travesty, transgression, and sexual ambiguity. Like the mythical thermometer of the title, which was purported to measure female lasciviousness, literature is filled with devices for quantifying elements of women s nature and sexuality which are hard to define-or uncomfortable to confront. Looking at images that mask or mystify female nature, like the masquerade or ghosts, these essays offer a challenging look at a fascinating range of issues involved in the exploration of gender studies. The inaugural volume in Oxford s Ideologies of Desire, The Female Thermometer foreshadows the thought-provoking and forward-looking nature of the books that will make up the series. Its revisionist version of eighteenth-century life will intrigue all those concerned with cultural studies and issues of gender relations throughout history. Bookseller Inventory # AAW9780195080988

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