Abstract

This essay explores John Cleland's use of geographical figures in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure and his novel criticism. Rejecting the common metaphor of the novel as mirror, in his criticism Cleland emphasizes the interpretive and ethical responsibility of the reader by comparing novels to maps. Significantly, this same travel imagery often appears in the Memoirs' sodomitical episodes. Within the novel alone, Cleland's language of navigation challenges the claims of law, custom, and religion as the discourses most fit to prescribe the body's limits. If we read the novel and criticism together, the sodomitical thread in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure becomes a critical allegory that models the form of embodied imaginative agency Cleland believes realistic fiction should elicit and accommodate.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 1035-1045
Launched on MUSE
2010-11-24
Open Access
No
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