This article investigates the curious recurrence of the simian throughout the art and literature of the long eighteenth century to offer a reading of the simian’s intimate connection with plural genders and sexualities. Lord Rochester, William Hogarth, Eliza Haywood, and Frances Burney collectively model an eighteenth-century maxim: to notice the simian is to locate extracurricular sexuality, which triangulates interspecies polymorphous pleasures and violences. I read Rochester’s poetry and portraiture, Hogarth’s A Harlot’s Progress, Haywood’s The Adventures of Eovaai, and Burney’s Evelina through a queer animal studies lens to address how the erotic human-animal bond insinuates itself throughout eighteenth-century literature, art, and culture. “Simian Sexuality” patterns the simian inclusion so as to synthesize how the eighteenth-century monkey (1) signals non-heteronormative arrangements of genders, sexualities, and embodiments; (2) calls into question the fungible hierarchy positions of human and animal; and (3) illustrates how tactile interspecies relationships are mediated by erotic caresses and violations.
Studies in the Novel
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Chow, Jeremy. "Simian Sexuality: Interspecies Intimacy in the Long Eighteenth Century." (2021) : 209-231.