The Dressing Room in Eighteenth-Century English Literature and Culture
Drawing on extensive archival research, Chico argues that the dressing room, introduced into English domestic architecture during the seventeenth century, embodies contradictory connotations, for it is linked to the eroticism and theatricality of the playhouse tiring-room as well as to the learning and privilege of the gentleman's closet. As a symbol of both progressive and retrograde versions of femininity, Designing Women clearly establishes the dressing room trope in eighteenth-century literature as redefining the gendered constitution of private spaces, and offers a corrective to our literary history of generic influence and development between satire and the novel: once the satirist shows the way into the lady's dressing room, the eighteenth-century novelist never stops looking.
About the author:
Tita Chico is Assistant Professor of English at Texas Tech University. She has published articles in Cultural Critique, Eighteenth-Century Life, and Persuasions, and is a contributor to Monstrous Dreams of Reason: Cultural Politics, Enlightenment Ideologies (Bucknell University Press, 2002). She also co-edits The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation.