Monstrous Dreams of Reason

Mita Choudhury and Laura J Rosenthal (Eds.)

Body, Self, and Other in the Enlightenment

292 pages
ISBN 9781611481266
LC 2001035056
Bucknell Studies in Eighteenth Century Literature and Culture

Monstrous Dreams of Reason explores one of the most enduring and intriguing paradoxes of the British Enlightenment: how reason gives rise to both the beneficial and the monstrous.

This collection of twelve previously unpublished essays explores the conflicts sparked by the extraordinary range of new ideas and material possibilities in the eighteenth-century British Empire, reading the Enlightenment less as a set of axioms than as a variety of cultural and ideological formations. The essays demonstrate how profoundly eighteenth0century formulations of gender, race, class, and sexuality have, through their challenges to a less empirical, rational, and universalizing past, set the terms for debates in the centuries that followed. They explore a wide range of texts, from Georgic poetry to crime stories, from illness narratives to travel journals, from theatrical performances to medical discourse, and from political treatises to the novel.

Exemplifying different methodologies and theoretical perspectives, yet addressing a nexus of important cultural and critical issues, Monstrous Dreams of Reason makes a telling and exciting intervention in the ongoing debate about the Enlightenment's identity as a history of the present, and as a crucial moment presaging the modern and the postmodern condition.

About the editors:

Mita Choudhury teaches in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Co-editor of a collection of essays entitled Monstrous Dreams of Reason: Body, Self, and Other (forthcoming from Bucknell) she has published articles and reviews on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British theater and performance that have appeared in Theatre History Studies, Theatre Journal, TDR, and Studia Neophilologica.

Laura J. Rosenthal is Associate Professor of English at Florida State University. She is the author of Playwrights and Plagiarists in Early Modern England: Gender, Authorship, Literary Property (Cornell, 1996).


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