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  • Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Please join us on May 6, 2020 at 12 noon EST as Riley McGuire defends his dissertation,
"Figures of Speech: The Relational and Generic Forms of Vocal Disability in Nineteenth-Century Culture”
This dissertation offers a cultural history of vocal disability and its surprisingly ubiquitous representation in nineteenth-century British and transatlantic literature. “Figures of Speech” shows that nineteenth-century efforts to standardize the voice occurred first and foremost textually, whether through the explicit directives of elocution manuals and pronunciation dictionaries or the more implicit ideological workings of literature. In chapters on lisping lovers in the Victorian marriage plot, stammering aristocrats on the transatlantic stage, baby-talking fairies in children’s literature, and mute detectives in sensation fiction, it examines the forms of discipline as well as the types of pleasure that dysfluency generated at a crucial moment in the history of human speech—elucidating vocal hierarchies of ability that remain in force today.
Private portion: 11am-12 noon
Public presentation and remote celebration: 12-1pm
For the Zoom link, please contact Riley McGuire or Emily Steinlight.