Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Perfecting of Nature – Reforming Bodies in Antebellum Literature - North Carolina Scholarship Online
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

The Perfecting of Nature: Reforming Bodies in Antebellum Literature

Josh Doty


The nineteenth century saw a marked change in how Americans viewed and understood the human form. These new ways of understanding the body reflect how Americans were beginning to see the body’s constituent parts as interconnected. From the transcendentalists’ idealized concept of self to the rise of Darwinian theory after the Civil War, the era and its writers redefined the human body as both deeply reactive and malleable. Josh Doty explores antebellum American conceptions of bioplasticity—the body’s ability to react and change from interior and exterior forces—and argues that literature helpe ... More

Keywords: Literature, Nineteenth Century, Bioplasticity, Darwin, Transcendetalists, Bodies, Culture, Antebellum, Reform

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9781469659619
Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2022 DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469659619.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Josh Doty, author
St. Mary's University