Hysteria, Body Politics and the Gothic in women’s writing

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Paper


My paper proposes that women writing in the Gothic mode use the pathology of hysteria and the figure of the hysteric to explore body politics in two senses: firstly ‘the body politic’, that is the (female) body as a microcosm of society, culture or nation; secondly the (female) body as a political entity, inscribed by discourses such as those of science and medicine, but also resisting that inscription. I question how far these women writers appropriate the hysterical body as metaphor at the expense of individual experience, or whether more positive ideological interpretations are possible. I argue that hysteria has been constructed as a Gothic pathology, not just because the Gothic canon features many hysterical characters, but because the illness resembles many of the Gothic’s characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - Jun 2016
Event Festival of Food & Research - University of Bristol
Duration: 15 Jun 2016 → …


Conference Festival of Food & Research
Period15/06/16 → …


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