Theses Doctoral

Evoking Disgust in the Eighteenth Century

Jamieson, David

The eighteenth century is primarily known for the development of codes of etiquette, the refinement of manners and the artistic cultivation of the beautiful and the sublime, but there is at the same time a strand of highly visceral, often stomach-turning texts and images that coexist alongside the push for a much more polite and urbane culture.

My dissertation, “Evoking Disgust in the Eighteenth Century,” looks at a wide range of scientific, literary and ephemeral texts to excavate the ways that disgust both persisted and transformed across the century. These range from the poems of Jonathan Swift, the novels of Tobias Smollett, Evelina by Frances Burney, and George Psalmanazar’s An Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa. I argue that disgust served as both a boundary line that can tell us the kinds of behaviors, objects and bodies that should not be tolerated in society, and as an emotion that could be trained and cultivated to guide the disgust reactions of readers.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
English and Comparative Literature
Thesis Advisors
Davidson, Jenny
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 2, 2023