• Disability and “Chastened Merriment”: Queer Joy in Theodore Winthrop’s Cecil Dreeme

    Author(s):
    Vivian Delchamps (see profile)
    Date:
    2021
    Group(s):
    2021 MLA Convention
    Subject(s):
    Critical disability studies, Gender and queer studies, 19th-century American literature
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    MLA
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/cnnb-af79
    Abstract:
    Theodore Winthrop’s novel Cecil Dreeme, first published after Winthrop died in 1861—is, according to Christopher Looby, quote, “a very queer book indeed,” endquote. Here I argue that the novel offers significant opportunities for study of disability, queer desire, and joy from nineteenth-century America to today. To explore the relationships between queer and crip joy, I focus on a rich scene of oyster eating that follows Cecil Dreeme’s emotional crisis. The scene centers queer intimacy, bodily pleasure, and gastronomical delight, providing relief from the restraints of compulsory able-mindedness and compulsory heterosexuality found elsewhere in the world of the novel. I show that the novel crafts restorative scenes that reaffirm joy for characters who experience mental illnesses that result from marginalizing treatment.
    Metadata:
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    1 week ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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