The Intersection of Disability and Romance in Nineteenth-Century Literature
Davidson, Sammy. “The Intersection of Disability and Romance in Nineteenth-Century Literature”, Boston College, 2023. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:109655.
My thesis is about the intersection of disability and romance in nineteenth-century literature. I explore the gap in scholarly writing that often ignores how characters with disabilities fit into romantic relationships. I explain how, although people typically believe that characters with disabilities in Victorian literature do not participate in the romance plot, in actuality, it is because a character becomes disabled that allows them to flourish in a romantic dynamic. I coin the term "disability-romance plot" to describe the pattern where authors use disability as a mechanism to solve otherwise unsolvable conflicts within romantic pairings. In my essay, I outline the two types of disability-romance plots: the male disability-romance plot and the female disability-romance plot. Together, I look at how the disability-romance plot challenges stereotypes about people with disabilities and reveals gender norms in the nineteenth century.