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Synopsis

The resurgence of marriage as a transnational institution, same-sex or otherwise, draws upon as much as it departs from enlightenment ideologies of sex, gender, and sexuality which this collection aims to investigate, interrogate, and conceptualize anew. Coming to terms with heteronormativity is imperative for appreciating the literature and culture of the eighteenth century writ large, as well as the myriad imaginaries of sex and sexuality that the period bequeaths to the present. This collection foregrounds British, European, and, to a lesser extent, transatlantic heteronormativities in order to pose vital if vexing questions about the degree of continuity subsisting between heteronormativities of the past and present, questions compounded by the aura of transhistoricity lying at the heart of heteronormativity as an ideology. Contributors attend to the fissures and failures of heteronormativity even as they stress the resilience of its hegemony: reconfiguring our sense of how gender and sexuality came to be mapped onto space; how public and private spheres were carved up, or gendered and sexual bodies socially sanctioned; and finally how literary traditions, scholarly criticisms, and pedagogical practices have served to buttress or contest the legacy of heteronormativity.

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