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The invisible (invalid) woman: African‐American women, illness, and nineteenth‐century narrative

The invisible (invalid) woman: African‐American women, illness, and nineteenth‐century narrative The Invisible (Invalid) Woman: African-American Women, Illness, and Nineteenth-Century Narrative DIANE PRICE HERNDL English Department, New Mexico State University IN THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS, feminist scholars have begun writing the histo- ry of women, illness, and narrative; but from Barbara Ehrenreich's and Deirdre English's Complaints and Disorders, Haller and Haller's The Physi- cian and Sexuality in Victorian America, and Carroll Smith-Rosenberg's Dis- orderly Conduct to Elaine Showalter's The Female Malady, Mary Poovey's Uneven Developments, and my own Invalid Women, that history of female ill- ness is white and middle-class. Since I finished my study, however, I have begun to notice that the illness of African-American women is no t nearly so invisible in writings by nineteenth-century African American women. It remains invisible, though, not only in the medical writing of th e time, bu t in the historical and critical accounts of bot h slave and free black women.1 I've found an amazing lack of historical information about nineteenth- century African-American women's health and n o critical commentary on the representations of illness in literary texts by African-American women. Almost everything one can find approaches the question from a distinctly ideological perspective, from overtly racist claims that slaves were http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Women's Studies: An inter-disciplinary journal Taylor & Francis

The invisible (invalid) woman: African‐American women, illness, and nineteenth‐century narrative

The invisible (invalid) woman: African‐American women, illness, and nineteenth‐century narrative

Women's Studies: An inter-disciplinary journal , Volume 24 (6): 20 – Sep 1, 1995

Abstract

The Invisible (Invalid) Woman: African-American Women, Illness, and Nineteenth-Century Narrative DIANE PRICE HERNDL English Department, New Mexico State University IN THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS, feminist scholars have begun writing the histo- ry of women, illness, and narrative; but from Barbara Ehrenreich's and Deirdre English's Complaints and Disorders, Haller and Haller's The Physi- cian and Sexuality in Victorian America, and Carroll Smith-Rosenberg's Dis- orderly Conduct to Elaine Showalter's The Female Malady, Mary Poovey's Uneven Developments, and my own Invalid Women, that history of female ill- ness is white and middle-class. Since I finished my study, however, I have begun to notice that the illness of African-American women is no t nearly so invisible in writings by nineteenth-century African American women. It remains invisible, though, not only in the medical writing of th e time, bu t in the historical and critical accounts of bot h slave and free black women.1 I've found an amazing lack of historical information about nineteenth- century African-American women's health and n o critical commentary on the representations of illness in literary texts by African-American women. Almost everything one can find approaches the question from a distinctly ideological perspective, from overtly racist claims that slaves were

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References (34)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
0049-7878
eISSN
1547-7045
DOI
10.1080/00497878.1995.9979081
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The Invisible (Invalid) Woman: African-American Women, Illness, and Nineteenth-Century Narrative DIANE PRICE HERNDL English Department, New Mexico State University IN THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS, feminist scholars have begun writing the histo- ry of women, illness, and narrative; but from Barbara Ehrenreich's and Deirdre English's Complaints and Disorders, Haller and Haller's The Physi- cian and Sexuality in Victorian America, and Carroll Smith-Rosenberg's Dis- orderly Conduct to Elaine Showalter's The Female Malady, Mary Poovey's Uneven Developments, and my own Invalid Women, that history of female ill- ness is white and middle-class. Since I finished my study, however, I have begun to notice that the illness of African-American women is no t nearly so invisible in writings by nineteenth-century African American women. It remains invisible, though, not only in the medical writing of th e time, bu t in the historical and critical accounts of bot h slave and free black women.1 I've found an amazing lack of historical information about nineteenth- century African-American women's health and n o critical commentary on the representations of illness in literary texts by African-American women. Almost everything one can find approaches the question from a distinctly ideological perspective, from overtly racist claims that slaves were

Journal

Women's Studies: An inter-disciplinary journalTaylor & Francis

Published: Sep 1, 1995

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