A queer orientation: the sexual geographies of modernism 1913-1939

Richardson, S., 2019. A queer orientation: the sexual geographies of modernism 1913-1939. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Historicising the geography of sexuality within the milieu of literary modernism, the subject of this thesis is the relationship between queerness, space and place as mediated by modernist texts. Focusing on the work of E. M. Forster, H.D., Katharine Burdekin and Christopher Isherwood, the thesis aims to examine the impact that the taxonomizing of sexual orientations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries has on the textual geographies of modernist literature. Though the relationship between modernism, space and place has been well mined by critics, scholarship has yet to produce a sustained inquiry into the imbrication of queer subjectivity and modernist geographies. The purpose of this thesis is, therefore, to make an interjection that offers a queer reading of the modernist relationship with space and place. After beginning with a theoretical unpacking of the generative term ‘sexual orientation’, Chapter One engages with the queer inheritance of the Oscar Wilde trial and its shaping effect on Forster’s Maurice (1971), widely recognised as one of the first homosexual novels. Following this, Chapter Two turns inwards to examine the relationship between psychoanalysis and the queer subject in H.D.’s short stories ‘Kora and Ka’ (1934) and ‘Mira-Mare’ (1934), works which straddle the analysis that the poet undertook with Sigmund Freud in 1933. Akin to this, Chapter Three examines the relationship between Burdekin and Havelock Ellis, positioning that the novels Proud Man (1934) and Swastika Night (1937) fold together sexuality and space through eugenic thinking. Finally, Chapter Four traces the ends of queer modernist geographies in Isherwood’s early novels All the Conspirators (1928), Mr Norris Changes Trains (1935) and Goodbye to Berlin (1939). Tempering the discourse of sexology and psychoanalysis with a critical theory approach, these chapters offer an account of the rich and diverse ways that the pluralistic categorisation of queerness shapes textual geographies in the 1913-1939 period.

Item Type: Thesis
Description: Abridged version
Creators: Richardson, S.
Date: September 2019
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed in the owner(s) of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 03 Jul 2020 11:25
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2020 12:34
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/40160

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