Designing Women: The Dressing Room in Eighteenth-Century English Literature and Culture

, 2005

Drawing on extensive archival research, Chico argues that the dressing room, introduced into English domestic architecture during the seventeenth century, embodies contradictory connotations, for it is linked to the eroticism and theatricality of the playhouse tiring-room as well as the to the learning and privilege of the gentleman's closet. As a symbol of both progressive and retrograde versions of femininity, Designing Women establishes the dressing room trope in eighteenth-century literature as redefining the gendered constitution of private spaces.