By Karen Sánchez-Eppler
During this outstanding research of the pre-Civil conflict literary mind's eye, Karen S?nchez-Eppler charts how physically distinction got here to be well-known as a primary challenge for either political and literary expression. Her readings of soppy anti-slavery fiction, slave narratives, and the lyric poetry of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson show how those texts participated in generating a brand new version of personhood, one during which the racially exact and bodily restricted slave physique converged with the sexually specific and regionally circumscribed girl body.Moving from the general public area of abolitionist politics to the privateness of lyric poetry, S?nchez-Eppler argues that spotlight to the actual physique blurs the bounds among private and non-private. Drawing analogies among black and feminine our bodies, feminist-abolitionists use the general public sphere of anti-slavery politics to write down approximately sexual wants and anxieties they can't voice directly.S?nchez-Eppler warns opposed to exaggerating the optimistic hyperlinks among literature and politics, even if. She reveals that the relationships among feminism and abolitionism show styles of exploitation, appropriation, and displacement of the black physique that recognize the problems in embracing "difference," within the 19th century as within the 20th. Her insightful exam of concerns that remain appropriate at the present time will make a particular mark on American literary and cultural reviews.
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Additional resources for Touching liberty: abolition, feminism, and the politics of the body
The tears of the reader are pledged in these sentimental stories as a means of rescuing the bodies of slaves. "35 Her weeping seems to dissolve racial barriers and make Mary recognizably white. Mary's tears idealize the power of sentiment to change the condition of the human body, or at least, read symbolically, to alter how that condition is perceived. The ability of sentimental fiction to liberate the bodies of slaves is, moreover, intimately connected to the bodily nature of the genre itself.
20 Just as the figure of the female slave served feminist rhetorical purposes, she also proved useful in abolitionist campaigns and was frequently employed to attract women to abolitionist work. "21 Such tactics did not attempt to identify woman's status with that of the slave but relied upon the ties of sisterly sympathy, presuming that one woman would be particularly sensitive to the sufferings of another. Indeed such a strategy emphasized the difference between the free woman's condition and the bondage of the slave, since it was this difference that enabled the free woman to work for her sister's emancipation.
8 An elected representative Page 6 government presumes that one's ideas, thoughts, needs, and desires can be adequately embodied by someone else. The representative's job is to mark the constituents' presence at the scene of power, negotiation, and debate. Political representation enacts the fiction of a bodiless body politic. Literary representation depends, of course, on a similar though not identical system of proxies: words stand in for an absent physical world. An account focused on the representation of a corporeally based identity in nineteenth-century American writings inadequately describes the experiences of any actual bodies.