In Winterson’s simultaneously lyrical and analytical novel Written on the Body, the nameless narrator suffers an existential angst which finds only temporary relief in love affairs. Winterson utilizes the device of a sexually indeterminate narrator in order to effect a radical deconstruction of the romance genre and to celebrate the beloved’s body in all its physical beauty and abjection. The novel concerns the love affair between the narrator and the beautiful, but married, Louise. When the narrator discovers that Louise has leukaemia, she/he leaves Louise in the belief that Louise’s cancer specialist husband will give her the chance of life. Heartbroken at the loss of the beloved, the narrator retreats to the country and immerses herself/himself in medical textbooks to learn everything about the disease that threatens the beloved’s life. Out of this Winterson fashions an extraordinary language of the body, in which the beloved’s body is explored, excavated, categorized, fetishized and made love to. As Ginette Carpenter observes, ‘the idea that the body can be read and re-read, written and re-written is the central motif of Written on the Body’ (2007, p. 71).
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Written on the Body, Art & Lies and Gut Symmetries
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number