This extended study of the treatment of the physical, material nature of the human body in the works of Jonathan Swift and Daniel Defoe examines the role that literary invention (with its rhetorical and linguistic strategies) plays in expressing and exploring the problems of physicality. The book takes up a wide range of issues relating to the body such as sexuality, cannibalism, scatology, and the fear of contagion. In an eclectic synthesis of recent critical approaches, Professor Flynn draws insight from biographical and psychoanalytic criticism as well as social history. Application of feminist theory offers an original and challenging discussion of renditions of female sexuality in both Defoe and Swift.
"...Flynn is at her very best as cultural and literary critic: she enters eighteenth-century conflicts and shows us how they provide a social context for a wide body of literary and cultural texts." Carol Barash, Eighteenth-Century Studies