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Grant number like: FT-259950-18

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Jolene Zigarovich
University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0001)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2018 – 7/31/2018

Death and the Body in the Eighteenth-Century Novel

Research leading to a book on the changing attitudes toward death, funeral practices, and mortality as reflected in 18th-century British novels.

Without a book-length study of death in eighteenth-century Britain, historical facts concerning funerary practices and the culture’s overall relationship with mortality are only beginning to be understood. By incorporating a variety of historical discourses–wills, undertaking histories, medical studies, philosophical treatises and religious tracts–my project illuminates a shift in control over death and the body from religious institutions to the individual, which resulted in secular, aesthetic approaches to death and dying. Preserving Clarissa, and other Morbid Curiosities in the Eighteenth-Century Novel reveals that the body itself—its parts, and its preserved, visual representation—functioned as erotic memento, and it suggests that preserved remains became symbols of individuality and subjectivity. This project thereby forces us to reassess the eighteenth-century response to and representation of the dead and dead-like body, and its fetishized purpose and use in fiction.