ISSN 1744-9618
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Kate Davies (Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies, University of York), Pantomime, Connoisseurship, Consumption: Emma Hamilton and the Politics of Embodiment

This essay uses Emma Hamilton’s ‘attitudes’ as a way of opening up and illuminating the critique De Stael’s Corinne offers of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century gender stereotypes. I look at the ‘attitudes’ through three contextual frames and debates: masculine connoisseurship; the picturesque; and fashionable femininity. While Hamilton’s ‘attitudes’ have often been regarded as a sort of cultural quiz—an identification parade of recognisable classical heroines—this essay suggests that they are better considered in terms of their lack of narrative and their confusion of identity. In the particular ways in which they make no sense, Hamilton’s attitudes are, I argue, distinctively related to the modernity of the culture that produced them.

 

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