The Female Thermometer: Eighteenth-Century Culture and the Invention of the Uncanny (Ideologies of Desire)

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9780195080971: The Female Thermometer: Eighteenth-Century Culture and the Invention of the Uncanny (Ideologies of Desire)

The work of leading scholar Terry Castle, called by the New York Times "always engaging...consistently fascinating," has helped to revolutionize eighteenth-century studies. The Female Thermometer collects Castle's essays on phantasmagoria in eighteenth-century literature and culture. Taking as her emblem the fanciful "female thermometer," an imaginary instrument invented by eighteenth-century satirists to measure levels of female sexual arousal, Castle explores the ways in which the rationalist imperatives of the age paradoxically worked to produce what Freud called the uncanny and what she calls the "impinging strangeness" of the eighteenth-century imagination.

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About the Author:

Terry Castle is currently Professor of English at Stanford University.


"The Female Thermometer is filled with incisive observations that make us re-examine the broad preconceptions we hold about the 18th century and reassess some of its specific cultural artifacts."--The New York Times

"Lively new study of 18th-century culture....Intriguing book."--International Herald Tribune

"This is an attractive and important book....There is no essay in this book that isn't a pleasure to read, and none that isn't at the same time extensive and wide-ranging documentation."--Times Literary Supplement

"The whole collection is informed not only by Castle's wide-ranging erudition... but by her wit and her persuasive and intriguing interpretations. ...she can always take her argument one step further, adding one more turn to the screw. This is a book to be read by specialists in the different authors--Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Radcliffe--as well as savoured by those interested in eighteenth-century culture and the history of the spectral idea."--Eighteenth-Century Fiction

"Terry Castle is well equipped to explore the dark Other of the age of enlightenment, as her book on masquerade demonstrated. Her knowledge of the back alleys and "no trespassing" byways of the culture is minute and particular; and she can not only produce out-of-the-way facts and figures, publications and performances, but she can brilliantly and convincingly articulate their significance for the culture."--ighteenth-Century Fiction

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