Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-pjpqr Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-17T21:02:31.341Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

REPRESENTATIONS OF THE ABNORMAL BODY IN THE MOONSTONE

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 2009

Mark Mossman*
Affiliation:
Western Illinois University

Extract

Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone is a novel constructed through the repeated representation of the abnormal body. Reading The Moonstone in critical terms has traditionally required a primary engagement with form. The work has been defined as a foundational narrative in the genre of crime and detection and at the same time read as a narrative located within the context of the immensely popular group of sensation novels that dominate the Victorian literary marketplace through the middle and the second half of the nineteenth century. T. S. Eliot is one of the first readers to define one end of this paradigm, reading the novel as an original text in the genre of detective fiction, and famously saying that The Moonstone is “the first, the longest and the best of modern English detective novels” (xii). On the other end of the paradigm, the novel's formal workings are again often cited as a larger example, and even triumph, of Victorian sensation fiction – melodramatic narratives built, according to Winifred Hughes and the more recent Derridean readings by Patrick Brantlinger and others, around a discursive cross-fertilization of romanticism, gothicism, and realism.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

WORKS CITED

Bisla, Sundeep. “The Return of the Author: Privacy, Publication, the Mystery Novel, and The Moonstone.” BoundaryII 29 (Spring 2002): 177222.Google Scholar
Brantlinger, Patrick. “What is ‘Sensational’ about the ‘Sensation’ Novel?” Wilkie Collins. Ed. Pykett, Lyn. New York: St. Martin's, 1998. 3057.Google Scholar
Collins, Wilkie. “Dedication.” Poor Miss Finch. Ed Peters, Catherine. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1995. xxxiiixxxiv.Google Scholar
Collins, Wilkie. The Moonstone. Ed Kemp, Sandra. New York: Penguin, 1998.Google Scholar
Corker, Mairian, and Shakespeare, Tom. “Mapping the Terrain.” Disability/Postmodernity: Embodying Disability Theory. Ed. Corker, Mairian and Shakespeare, Tom. London: Continuum, 2002. 118.Google Scholar
Craik, Dinah. “To Novelists – and a Novelist.” Macmillan's Magazine 3 (1861): 442.Google Scholar
Davis, Lennard J.Bending Over Backwards: Disability, Dismodernism, and Other Difficult Positions. New York: New York UP, 2002.Google Scholar
Davis, Lennard J.. “Constructing Normalcy: The Bell Curve, The Novel, and the Invention of the Disabled Body in the Nineteenth Century.” The Disability Studies Reader. Ed. Davis, Lennard J.. New York: Routledge, 1997. 928.Google Scholar
Davis, Lennard J.. Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness, and the Body. London: Verso, 1995.Google Scholar
Davis, Lennard J.. “Nation, Class, and Physical Minorities.” Beyond the Binary: Reconstructing Cultural Identity in a Multicultural Context. Ed. Powell, Timothy B. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1999. 1738.Google Scholar
Davis, Lennard J.. “Nude Venuses, Medusa's Body and Phantom Limbs: Disability and Visuality.” The Body and Physical Difference: Discourses of Disability. Ed. Snyder, Sharon and Mitchell, David. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1997. 5170.Google Scholar
Davis, Lennard J.. “Stumped by Genes: Lingua GATACA, DNA, and Prosthesis.” The Prosthetic Impulse: From a Posthuman Present to a Biocultural Form. Ed. Smith, Marquard and Morra, Joanne. Cambridge: The MIT P, 2006. 91106.Google Scholar
Debord, Guy. The Society of Spectacle. Trans. Nichoson-Smith, Donald. New York: Zone Books, 1995.Google Scholar
Eigen, Joel Peter. Unconscious Crime: Mental Absence and Criminal Responsibility in Victorian London. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2003.Google Scholar
Eliot, T. S. “Introduction.” The Moonstone. Oxford: Oxford World's Classics, 1928. ixx.Google Scholar
Ferguson, Frances. Pornography, the Theory: What Utilitarianism Did to Action. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2004.Google Scholar
Finane, Mark. Insanity and the Insane in Post-Famine Ireland. London: Croom-Helm, 1981.Google Scholar
Fisch, Audrey. “Collins, Race, and Slavery.” Reality's Dark Light: The Sensational Wilkie Collins. Ed. Bachman, Maria K. and Richard Cox, Don. Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, 2003. 313–28.Google Scholar
Foucault, Michel. The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception. Trans. Sheridan Smith, A. M.. New York: Vintage, 1994.Google Scholar
Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality, Volume I: An Introduction. Trans Hurley, Robert. New York: Vintage, 1990. Random House, 1978.Google Scholar
Frawley, Maria H.Invalidism and Identity in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2004.Google Scholar
Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. “Byron and the New Disability Studies: A Response.” European Romantic Review 12 (2001): 321–27.Google Scholar
Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. “Making Freaks: Visual Rhetorics and the Spectacle of Julia Pastrana.” Thinking the Limits of the Body. Ed. Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome and Weiss, Gail. Albany: State University of New York P, 2003. 129–13.Google Scholar
Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. “The Politics of Staring: Visual Rhetorics of Disability in Popular Photography.” Snyder, Brueggemann, and Garland-Thomson, eds. 56–75.Google Scholar
Gilbert, Pamela K.Disease, Desire, and the Body in Victorian Women's Popular Novels. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gilbert, Pamela K.. The Citizen's Body: Desire, Health, and the Social in Victorian England. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 2007.Google Scholar
Heller, Tamar. Dead Secrets: Wilkie Collins and the Female Gothic. New Haven: Yale UP, 1992.Google Scholar
Hughes, Winifred. The Maniac in the Cellar: Sensation Novels of the 1860s. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1980.Google Scholar
Klages, Mary. Woeful Afflictions: Disability and Sentimentality in Victorian America. Philadelphia: U of Penn P, 1999.Google Scholar
Linton, Simi. Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity. New York: New York UP, 1998.Google Scholar
McRuer, Robert. “Compulsory Able-Bodiedness and Queer/Disabled Existence.” Snyder, Brueggemann, and Garland-Thomson. 88–99.Google Scholar
Mitchell, David T. “Narrative Prosthesis and the Materiality of Metaphor.” Snyder, Brueggemann, and Garland-Thomson, eds. 56–75.Google Scholar
Nussbaum, Martha. Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2006.Google Scholar
O'Conner, Erin. Raw Material: Producing Pathology in Victorian Literature. Durham: Duke UP, 2000.Google Scholar
Roberts, Lewis. “The ‘Shivering Sands’ of Reality: Narration and Knowledge in Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone.” Victorian Review: The Journal of the Victorian Studies Association 23 (Winter 1997): 168–83.Google Scholar
Rodas, Julia Miele. “Mainstreaming Disability Studies.” Victorian Literature and Culture 34 (2006): 371–84.Google Scholar
Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Epist/emology of the Closet. U of California P, 1990.Google Scholar
Silvers, Anita. “The Crooked Timber of Humanity: Disability, Ideology, and Aesthetic.” Disability/Postmodernity: Embodying Disability Theory. Ed. Corker, Mairian and Shakespeare, Tom. London: Continuum, 2002. 228–44.Google Scholar
Snyder, Sharon L., and Mitchell, David T.. Cultural Locations of Disability. Chicago: The U of Chicago P, 2006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Snyder, Sharon L.. “Exploring Foundations: Languages of Disability, Identity, and Culture.” Disability Studies Quarterly 17.4 (1997): 241–47.Google Scholar
Snyder, Sharon L., eds. “Introduction.” The Body and Physical Difference: Discourses of Disability. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1997. 134.Google Scholar
Snyder, Sharon L.. Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2000.Google Scholar
Snyder, Sharon L., Brueggemann, Brenda-Jo, and Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie, eds. Disability Studies: Enabling the Humanities. New York: MLA, 2002.Google Scholar
Stoddard Holmes, Martha. “‘Bolder With Her Lover In The Dark’”: Collins and Disabled Women's Sexuality.” Reality's Dark Light: The Sensational Wilkie Collins. Bachman, Maria K. and Cox, Don Richard, eds. Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, 2003. 5993.Google Scholar
Stoddard Holmes, Martha. Fictions of Affliction: Physical Disability in Victorian Culture. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wills, David. Prosthesis. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1995CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wright, David. Mental Disability in Victorian England: the Earlswood Asylum, 1847–1901. Oxford: Clarendon, 2001.Google Scholar
Youngquist, Paul. Monstrosities: Bodies and British Romanticism. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2003.Google Scholar