Paper Title

"Enter ANNE in her bed": Claiming Transabled Identity in A Woman Killed With Kindness

Panel

Literary Interventions III

Location

Room 223, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Start Date

2-4-2016 10:30 AM

End Date

2-4-2016 11:45 AM

Keywords

Queer, Disability, Crip, Homosocial, Feminism, Transability, Gender, Sexuality, Drama

Abstract

This paper attempts to explore queer/crip intersectionality in Thomas Heywood’s seventeenth-century domestic tragedy A Woman Killed With Kindness. My aim is to present disability within the play as an identity encompassing a strong sense of sociopolitical meaning, rather than, as is more common in literary texts, a mere plot point to be overcome or cured toward achieving a happy, fulfilling ending. Heywood’s play is fraught in the kind of homosocial relations that Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick critiques as providing for a traffic in women, here made manifest in male characters Frankford and Wendoll’s attempts to reduce one of the play’s few female characters, Anne, to the level of an objectified commodity, useful insofar as she allows for the realization of same-sex desire and partnership between men. I explore this aspect of the plot insofar as it informs a crip defiance of such relations; Anne’s embrace of anorexia following her public shaming as an adulteress forges curious connections to what has become known in disability studies as “transability”—the purposeful modification of one’s outward body in line with disability to match an inner self-identity. Transabled existence is, as I will show, active within Heywood’s work as a force of female agency and defiance in the face of domineering male-male relations, placing Anne out of the service of a patriarchal system that attempts to strip her of personal identity and selfhood for the sake of use-value.

Comments

Also presented in the Literary Interventions IV panel on Saturday, April 2, 2016 from 10:30-11:45 am.

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Apr 2nd, 10:30 AM Apr 2nd, 11:45 AM

"Enter ANNE in her bed": Claiming Transabled Identity in A Woman Killed With Kindness

Room 223, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

This paper attempts to explore queer/crip intersectionality in Thomas Heywood’s seventeenth-century domestic tragedy A Woman Killed With Kindness. My aim is to present disability within the play as an identity encompassing a strong sense of sociopolitical meaning, rather than, as is more common in literary texts, a mere plot point to be overcome or cured toward achieving a happy, fulfilling ending. Heywood’s play is fraught in the kind of homosocial relations that Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick critiques as providing for a traffic in women, here made manifest in male characters Frankford and Wendoll’s attempts to reduce one of the play’s few female characters, Anne, to the level of an objectified commodity, useful insofar as she allows for the realization of same-sex desire and partnership between men. I explore this aspect of the plot insofar as it informs a crip defiance of such relations; Anne’s embrace of anorexia following her public shaming as an adulteress forges curious connections to what has become known in disability studies as “transability”—the purposeful modification of one’s outward body in line with disability to match an inner self-identity. Transabled existence is, as I will show, active within Heywood’s work as a force of female agency and defiance in the face of domineering male-male relations, placing Anne out of the service of a patriarchal system that attempts to strip her of personal identity and selfhood for the sake of use-value.