- Purchase/rental options available:
This essay explores the autoerotic implications of Pope's Eloisa to Abelard. Left to grapple with an overwhelming desire and the contradictory setting which houses this desire, Eloisa must invent ways to cope with the "exquisite torture" that she experiences as a result of her isolation. The heroine, I argue, creates a self-reflexive world of fantasy and sexuality from deep within the solitude of the monastery. As she is the only one participating in this sensual drama, the impassioned nun fuels an onanistic subtext that subversively reacts to a restrictive view of human sexuality.