‘All Passion Extinguish’ d’: The Case of Mary Chandler, 1687–1745

  • David Shuttleton

Abstract

In urging that future generations need not know that ‘she never was handsome’, in the very act of seeking to shed the weight of cultural inscription on her body, the Bath poet Mary Chandler (1687–1745), ironically encouraged a posthumous attention to her falling away from contemporary prescriptions of feminine beauty. Chandler’s anxious attempt to control the traces of language which she anticipates will circulate around the site of her bodily dissolution, suggests the difficulties faced by early modern women poets who sought to challenge, or at the very least negotiate, patriarchal notions of female authenticity and value based upon physical appearance and marriageability. Chandler disturbed the prevailing sex—gender economy, not merely through her public act of publishing her poetry, but also by her physical appearance, for Mary, in the words of her brother Samuel, ’had nothing in her shape to recommend her, being grown, by an accident in her childhood, very irregular in her body’.1 Her brother adds that having ’resolution enough often to make [her ’irregular’ body] the subject of her own pleasantry’, Mary drew ’this wise inference from it’:clearly under social pressures to conform, in both her person and her poetry, to inhibiting ideals of feminine ’agreeableness’.

Keywords

Obesity Mold Income Shale Expense 

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Notes

  1. Nicholas Andry de Boiseregard, Orthopaedia: or the Art of Correcting and Preventing Deformities in Children (London, 1743; facsimile reprint, 2 vols (Philadelphia and Montreal: J. B. Lippincot, 1961), vol. 1, pp. 36–7.Google Scholar
  2. Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, vol. 1 (1976; Harmonds-worth: Penguin, 1990 ), p. 139.Google Scholar
  3. W. M. Sale, Samuel Richardson: A Bibliographical Record ( New Haven: Yale University Press, 1936 ), p. 156.Google Scholar
  4. Valerie Rumbold, Women’s Place in Pope’s World, Cambridge Studies in Eighteenth Century Literature 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989 ), pp. 4–6.Google Scholar
  5. Emma Donoghue, Passions Between Women: British Lesbian Culture, 1668–1801 ( London: Scarlet Press, 1993 ), p. 127.Google Scholar
  6. Maud Ellmann, The Hunger Artists: Starving, Writing and Imprisonment ( London: Virago, 1994 ), p. 4.Google Scholar
  7. Caroline Walker Bynum, Holy Feast and Holy Fast ( Berkeley: University-sity of California Press, 1987 ), p. 5.Google Scholar
  8. George Cheyne, The Natural Method of Cureing the Diseases of the Body (London, Bath, 1742), p. 210 and passim.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Shuttleton

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