Title

Bishopness

Year of Award

2007

Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

English (Literature)

Department or School/College

Department of English

Committee Chair

Casey Charles

Commitee Members

G.G. Weix, Robert Baker

Keywords

clothing, Egar Allen Poe and the Juke-Box, Elizabeth Bishop, gender, lesbian, modesty, reticence, sexuality

Publisher

University of Montana

Abstract

The publication of "Edgar Allen Poe & the Juke-Box" modifies Elizabeth Bishop’s established oeuvre in ways that demonstrate the anxiety throughout her work regarding the concealment of sexual difference—a concealment she often takes part in. As the poems reveal, by putting emphasis on particular kinds of clothing, Bishop emphasizes the necessary—but flawed—methods for that concealment. Black stockings, gloves, sailors hats, and other garments of traditional gender representation work as useful metaphors, symbolically engaging the construction of the literary image accepted in the academy which has produced the unified notion of “Bishopness” some critics still wish to uphold. When themes of gender and sexuality are most at crisis, articles of clothing such as stockings become important signs of what Bishop deemed necessary to put on—both figuratively and literally—in order to uphold the “style” and “poise” she continues to be celebrated for.

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© Copyright 2007 Lauren Goodwin Slaughter