Matthew Sivils: Transcorporeality and the Pursuit of Happiness in Leonora Sansay’s Laura (1809)


Sivils’ article examines how Leonora Sansay’s 1809 novella, Laura, presents suggestive linkages between the early American pursuit of happiness and an appealing, but ultimately doomed, fantasy of conjugal bliss within a pastoral landscape. Sansay, in this largely unstudied novella, employs the seduction novel genre and the pastoral environs of early republic Philadelphia to interrogate the validity of the social and physical boundaries that demarcate tensions between the human body, the natural world, and ultimately the validity of the pursuit of happiness for young women of the fledgling republic.