Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

A Painfully "Nice Family"

Reconstructing Interdependence in Wilkie Collins's The Law and the Lady

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2015), 9, (1), 35–51.

Abstract

Through the exploration of Wilkie Collins's The Law and the Lady (1875), a mystery by one of the most successful authors of the era, this article examines gaps in current theories of interdependence. It discusses the text in light of critical disability theory, interdependence theory, Victorian literary studies, and the historical signification of sadomasochism, concluding that the novel's disabled cousins—Dexter and Ariel—highlight non-normative relationships that could complicate assumptions about acts of care in scholarship on disability and interdependence. Recent advances in interdependence scholarship incorporate queer, genderqueer, and other non-normative relationships. However, even recent criticism relies on a normative definition of gentle and generous care that accords with conventional social, moral, and intellectual values. Dexter and Ariel's BDSM eroticism suggests that painful and queer experiences of interdependence challenge these normative models of care.

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

Adams, Rachel. Raising Henry: A Memoir of Motherhood, Disability, and Discovery. New Haven: Yale UP, 2014. Print. Raising Henry: A Memoir of Motherhood, Disability, and Discovery Google Scholar

Benjamin, Jessica. The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, and the Problem of Domination. New York: Pantheon, 1988. Print. The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, and the Problem of Domination Google Scholar

Bérubé, Michael. Life as We Know It: A Father, a Family, and an Exceptional Child. New York: Pantheon, 1996. Print. Life as We Know It: A Father, a Family, and an Exceptional Child Google Scholar

Carlson, Licia. The Faces of Intellectual Disability: Philosophical Reflections. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2010. Print. The Faces of Intellectual Disability: Philosophical Reflections Google Scholar

Chen, Mel Y. Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect. Durham: Duke UP, 2012. Print. Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect Google Scholar

Collins, Wilkie. The Law and the Lady. London: Penguin, 2004. Print. The Law and the Lady Google Scholar

Corbett, Mary Jean. Family Likeness: Sex, Marriage, and Incest from Jane Austen to Virginia Woolf. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2010. Print. Family Likeness: Sex, Marriage, and Incest from Jane Austen to Virginia Woolf Google Scholar

Davidson, Michael. "‘Every man his specialty’: Beckett, Disability, and Dependence." Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 1.2 (2007): 55-68. Web. 29 Sept. 2014. ‘Every man his specialty’: Beckett, Disability, and Dependence Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 1 55 68 Google Scholar

Fineman, Martha Albertson. The Autonomy Myth: The Theory of Dependency. New York: New P, 2003. Print. The Autonomy Myth: The Theory of Dependency Google Scholar

Flint, Kate. "Disability and difference." The Cambridge Companion to Wilkie Collins. Ed. Jenny Bourne Taylor. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006. 153-67. Print. The Cambridge Companion to Wilkie Collins 153 67 Google Scholar

Gabbard, D. Christopher. "From Custodial Care to Caring Labor: The Discourse of Who Cares in Jane Eyre." The Madwoman and the Blindman: Jane Eyre, Discourse, Disability. Ed. David Bolt, Julia Miele Rodas, and Elizabeth J. Donaldson. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 2012. 91-110. Print. The Madwoman and the Blindman: Jane Eyre, Discourse, Disability 91 110 Google Scholar

Gibson, Barbara E., Franco A. Carnevale, and Gillian King. "‘This is my Way’: Reimagining Disability, In/dependence and Interconnectedness of Persons and Assistive Technologies." Disability & Rehabilitation 34.22 (2012): 1894-99. Print. ‘This is my Way’: Reimagining Disability, In/dependence and Interconnectedness of Persons and Assistive Technologies Disability & Rehabilitation 34 1894 99 Google Scholar

Holmes, Martha Stoddard. "Victorian Fictions of Interdependency: Gaskell, Craik, and Yonge." Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 1.2 (2007): 29-41. Web. 29 Sept. 2014. Victorian Fictions of Interdependency: Gaskell, Craik, and Yonge Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 1 29 41 Google Scholar

Holmes, Martha Stoddard. "Queering the Marriage Plot: Wilkie Collins's The Law and the Lady." Victorian Freaks: The Social Context of Freakery in Britain. Ed. Marlene Tromp. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 2008. 237-58. Print. Victorian Freaks: The Social Context of Freakery in Britain 237 58 Google Scholar

Hughes, Bill, Linda McKie, Debra Hopkins, and Nick Watson. "Love's Labours Lost? Feminism, the Disabled People's Movement and an Ethic of Care." Sociology 39.2 (2005): 259-75. Print. Love's Labours Lost? Feminism, the Disabled People's Movement and an Ethic of Care Sociology 39 259 75 Google Scholar

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

Kittay, Eva Feder. Love's Labor: Essays on Women, Equality, and Dependency. London: Routledge, 1999. Print. Love's Labor: Essays on Women, Equality, and Dependency Google Scholar

Kittay, Eva Feder. "Love's Labor Revisited." Hypatia 17.3 (2002): 237-50. Print. Love's Labor Revisited Hypatia 17 237 50 Google Scholar

Kuppers, Petra. Disability Culture and Community Performance: Find a Strange and Twisted Shape. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Print. Disability Culture and Community Performance: Find a Strange and Twisted Shape Google Scholar

Locke, John. "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding Book I: Innate Notions." Ed. Jonathan Bennett. Early Modern Texts. 2012. Web. 29 Sept. 2014. Google Scholar

Macintyre, Alasdair. Dependent Rational Animals: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues. Chicago: Open Court, 1999. Print. Dependent Rational Animals: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues Google Scholar

Marcus, Sharon. Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2007. Print. Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England Google Scholar

McRuer, Robert. Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability. New York: New York UP, 2006. Print. Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability Google Scholar

Metz, Tamara. "Demands of Care and Dilemmas of Freedom: What We Really Ought to Be Worried About." Politics & Gender 6.1 (2010): 120-28. Print. Demands of Care and Dilemmas of Freedom: What We Really Ought to Be Worried About Politics & Gender 6 120 28 Google Scholar

Mollow, Anna. "Is Sex Disability? Queer Theory and the Disability Drive." Sex and Disability. Ed. Anna Mollow and Robert McRuer. London: Duke UP, 2012. 285-312. Print. Sex and Disability 285 312 Google Scholar

Mollow, Anna and Robert McRuer. Introduction. Sex and Disability. Ed. Anna Mollow and Robert McRuer. London: Duke UP, 2012. Print. Sex and Disability Google Scholar

Nancy, Jean-Luc. The Inoperative Community. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1991. Print. The Inoperative Community Google Scholar

Nussbaum, Martha C. Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership. Cambridge: Belknap P, 2006. Print. Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership Google Scholar

Noddings, Nel. Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education. Berkley: U of California P, 1984. Print. Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education Google Scholar

Oliver, Kelly. Witnessing: Beyond Recognition. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2001. Print. Witnessing: Beyond Recognition Google Scholar

Puar, Jasbir K. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Durham: Duke UP, 2007. Print. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times Google Scholar

Rainey, Sarah Smith. Love, Sex & Disability: The Pleasures of Care. London: Lynne Rienner, 2011. Print. Love, Sex & Disability: The Pleasures of Care Google Scholar

Ruddick, Sara. "An Appreciation of Love's Labor." Hypatia 17.3 (2002): 214-24. Print. An Appreciation of Love's Labor Hypatia 17 214 24 Google Scholar

Shakespeare, Tom, Kath Gillespie-Sells, and Dominic Davies. The Sexual Politics of Disability: Untold Desires. London: Cassell, 1996. Print. The Sexual Politics of Disability: Untold Desires Google Scholar

Schutte, Ofelia. "Dependency Work, Women, and the Global Economy." The Subject of Care: Feminist Perspectives on Dependency. Ed. Eva Feder Kittay and Ellen K. Feder. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002. 138-58. Print. The Subject of Care: Feminist Perspectives on Dependency 138 58 Google Scholar

Shildrick, Margrit. Dangerous Discourses of Disability, Subjectivity and Sexuality. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Print. Dangerous Discourses of Disability, Subjectivity and Sexuality Google Scholar

Shuttleworth, Russell, Nikki Wedgwood, and Nathan J. Wilson. "The Dilemma of Disabled Masculinity." Men and Masculinities 15.2 (2012): 174-94. Web. 29 Sept. 2014. The Dilemma of Disabled Masculinity Men and Masculinities 15 174 94 Google Scholar

Siebers, Tobin. "A Sexual Culture for Disabled People." Sex and Disability. Ed. Anna Mollow and Robert McRuer. London: Duke UP, 2012. 37-53. Print. Sex and Disability 37 53 Google Scholar

Skilton, David. Introduction. The Law and The Lady by Wilkie Collins. London: Penguin Books, 2004. vii-xxii. Print. The Law and The Lady vii xxii Google Scholar

Solinger, Rickie. Pregnancy and Power: A Short History of Reproductive Politics in America. New York: New York UP, 2005. Print. Pregnancy and Power: A Short History of Reproductive Politics in America Google Scholar

Trent, James W. Inventing the Feeble Mind: A History of Mental Retardation in the United States. Berkeley: U of California P, 1994. Print. Inventing the Feeble Mind: A History of Mental Retardation in the United States Google Scholar

Warner, Michael. The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life. New York: Free P, 1999. Print. The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life Google Scholar

Wilkerson, Abby L. "Disability, Sex Radicalism, and Political Agency." National Women's Studies Association Journal 14.3 (2002): 33-57. Print. Disability, Sex Radicalism, and Political Agency National Women's Studies Association Journal 14 33 57 Google Scholar

Wright, David. Mental Disability in Victorian England: The Earlswood Asylum, 1847-1901. Oxford: Clarendon, 2001. Print. Mental Disability in Victorian England: The Earlswood Asylum, 1847-1901 Google Scholar

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

Details

Author details

Herzl-Betz, Rachel