Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Queercrip Temporality and the Representation of Disability in Lady Audley’s Secret

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2018), 12, (4), 407–422.

Abstract

The article examines the operation of temporality within Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s 1862 novel Lady Audley’s Secret and its relationship to both queerness and disability vis-à-vis the novel’s titular character, Lady Audley. Although many scholars approach Lady Audley’s madness as a metaphorical device reflective of the character’s struggles against conventional gender norms, the article evokes Stephen Best and Sharon Marcus’s concept of “surface reading” to suggest that Lady Audley’s madness be considered as a constitutive element of a disabled, “crip” ontology. The article also proposes that Lady Audley be read as a queer character due to her bigamy and her failure to adhere to heteronormative cultural scripts. This queerness combines with Lady Audley’s crip ontology to produce an abject queercrip subjectivity that poses a radical challenge to hegemonic ableism and heteronormativity. Drawing on Jack Halberstam and Alison Kafer’s work on temporality, the article explores how this radical subjectivity is articulated in the novel through Lady Audley’s relationship to both queer and crip temporality.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Best, Stephen and Sharon Marcus. “Surface Reading: An Introduction.” Representations 108.1 (2009): 1–21. Print. Surface Reading: An Introduction. Representations 108.1 1 21 Google Scholar

Braddon, Mary E. Lady Audley’s Secret. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. Print. Lady Audley’s Secret Google Scholar

Cornes, Judy. Madness and the Loss of Identity in Nineteenth Century Fiction. Jefferson: McFarland, 2008. Print. Madness and the Loss of Identity in Nineteenth Century Fiction Google Scholar

Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality Volume 1: An Introduction. Trans. Robert Hurley. New York: Vintage, 1990. Print. The History of Sexuality Volume 1: An Introduction Google Scholar

Freeman, Elizabeth. “Queer Temporalities.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 13.2–3 (2007): 159–76. Print. Queer Temporalities. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 13.2–3 159 76 Google Scholar

Halberstam, Judith. In a Queer Time and Place. New York: New York UP, 2005. Print. In a Queer Time and Place Google Scholar

Kafer, Alison. Feminist, Queer, Crip. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2013. Print. Feminist, Queer, Crip Google Scholar

May, Leila S. Secrecy and Disclosure in Victorian Fiction. Abingdon: Routledge, 2017. Print. Secrecy and Disclosure in Victorian Fiction Google Scholar

McAleavey, Maia. The Bigamy Plot. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2015. Print. The Bigamy Plot Google Scholar

McRuer, Robert. Crip Theory. New York: New York UP, 2006. Print. Crip Theory Google Scholar

Showalter, Elaine. A Literature of Their Own. Expanded ed. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1999. Print. A Literature of Their Own Google Scholar

Shuttleworth, Sally. “‘Preaching to the Nerves’: Psychological Disorder in Sensation Fiction.” A Question of Identity. Ed. Marina Benjamin. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1993. 192–222. Print. Preaching to the Nerves’: Psychological Disorder in Sensation Fiction. A Question of Identity 192 222 Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Boyd, Nolan