University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Thomas Hood and the Art of the Leg-Pull

Bradshaw, Michael ORCID: (2011) Thomas Hood and the Art of the Leg-Pull. La Questione Romantica, 3 (1). pp. 117-129. ISSN Print: 1125-0364 Online: 2037-691X

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An obsession with deformity and amputation pervades the grotesque poetry of Thomas Hood. This article re-evaluates Hood's works in the light of body criticism, disability studies and theories of laughter, exploring the bodily presence in Romantic poetics. Neurotic laughter transfers between writing, written and reading bodies. Recent materialist readings of Hood introduced discourses of class and commodity to a critical heritage previously dominated by genre; this article interprets Hood's laughter as a physical crisis, which disrupts orthodoxy and yet is instrumental in constructing community. Hood's use of comic genre involves representations of physical pain which draw on his own lived experience. Hood's twin fascinations with limb deformity and capital punishment coincide in the killing joke of the 'leg-pull', a pun on the merciful intervention that puts victims of hanging out of their misery. The discussion draws on cultural disability studies for its ethical dimension.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: Thomas Hood, poets, poetry, comic genre, English Romantic period, deformity, amputation
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Humanities
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Depositing User: Michael Bradshaw
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2017 13:22
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:19

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