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Bellies, bowels and entrails in the eighteenth century$
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Rebecca Anne Barr, Sylvie Kleiman-Lafton, and Sophie Vasset

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526127051

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526127051.001.0001

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Desire, disgust and indigestibility in John Cleland’s Memoirs of a Coxcomb

Desire, disgust and indigestibility in John Cleland’s Memoirs of a Coxcomb

Chapter:
(p.227) 11 Desire, disgust and indigestibility in John Cleland’s Memoirs of a Coxcomb
Source:
Bellies, bowels and entrails in the eighteenth century
Author(s):

Rebecca Anne Barr

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526127051.003.0012

This essay analyses Cleland’s Memoirs of a Coxcomb (1754) alongside his idiosyncratic medical tracts Institutes of Health (1761) and Phisiological Reveries (1765). It explores the importance of disgust in Cleland’s representations of desiring (and desirable) bodies and the contradictory impulses produced by smell, skin and contamination, the mouth and ingestion. It argues that negative affects in Coxcomb are a symptom of embodied subjectivity. Analysing the novel’s notorious tableau of adult breastfeeding, it shows how Cleland’s mobilization of taste and distaste diagnoses the latent perversity of inter-subjective appetites.

Keywords:   Disgust, Negative affect, Cleland, John, Taste, Appetite, Sexuality, Smell, Mouth, Skin, Breast-feeding

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