restricted access Embodying the Invisible: Materiality and Subjectivity in Cavendish, Manley, and Haywood

This article tracks the development of the invisible character over the long eighteenth century. Invisible characters, I argue, are rarely simply immaterial. The minimal materiality of the invisible character marks a specific mode of subjectivity that recent work on literary matter often neglects. Through an analysis of Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World (1666), Delarivier Manley’s The New Atalantis (1709), and Eliza Haywood’s The Invisible Spy (1750), I demonstrate how the minimal materiality of the invisible character is reflected in the fascinating textual materiality that emerges in the margins of these narratives. Ultimately, the invisible character articulates a key aspect of early modern and eighteenth-century feminine subjectivity that remains unseen when invisibility is unreflectively interpreted as social allegory