Straight Writ Queer

Non-Normative Expressions of Heterosexuality in Literature

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About the Book

The advent of gay and lesbian studies as an academic field opened the door for a new exploration of sexuality in literature. Here, works generally considered heterosexual are re-examined in the light of queer theory. The notion of homosexuality is viewed as a social construction that emerged during the 19th century, with a definitive difference between biological sex and gendered behavior.
Heterosexuality is determined by whether sexual performance conforms to society-designated gender roles. From this wider perspective, this book examines literature previously viewed as “straight” in a search for alternative manifestations of desire and performance, relationships that contain an apparent disconnect between gender and desire. With broad coverage of many periods, authors, and genres, the 17 essays identify inherently queer heterosexual practices and critique the idea of heteronormativity, blurring the line between homo- and heterosexuality. Topics discussed include sodomy and chastity; Victorian literature; the relationship between sex, gender and desire; and the instability in literary portrayals of gender and sexuality. George Eliot, George Meredith, Ernest Hemingway, and Rider Haggard are among the many authors discussed.

About the Author(s)

Editor Richard Fantina is also the author of Ernest Hemingway: Machismo and Masochism and co-editor of Victorian Sensations: Essays on a Scandalous Genre. He lives in Westfield, Vermont.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Richard Fantina
[Foreword by Calvin Thomas]
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 274
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2638-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword: Crossing the Streets, Queering the Sheets, or: “Do You Want to Save the Changes to Queer Heterosexuality?”

CALVIN THOMAS      1

Preface      9

Introduction

RICHARD FANTINA      11

Part I: Imperfect Sodomy and Queer Chastity

1. Back Door Sex: Renaissance Gynosodomy, Aretino, and the Exotic

CELIA R. DAILEADER      25

2. Pegging Ernest Hemingway: Masochism, Sodomy, and the Dominant Woman

RICHARD FANTINA      46

3. Queer Desire and Heterosexual Consummation in the Anchoritic Mystical Tradition

SUSANNAH MARY CHEWNING      68

4. Deviant Celibacy: Renouncing Dinah’s Little Fetish in Adam Bede

KATE FABER OESTREICH      82

Part II: The Victorians, of Course

5. The Mark of the Brotherhood: Homosexual Panic and the Foreign Other in Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White

RICHARD NEMESVARI      95

6. “A rod of flexible steel in that little hand”: Female Dominance and Male Masochism in Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Aurora Floyd

DENISE HUNTER GRAVATT      109

7. “Was ever hero in this fashion won?” Alternative Sexualities in the Novels of George Meredith

MELISSA SHIELDS JENKINS      124

8. She: Rider Haggard’s Queer Adventures

SHANNON YOUNG      134

Part III: The Incommensurability of Sex/Gender/Desire

9. Strange Anatomy, Strange Sexuality: The Queer Body in Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex

ZACHARY SIFUENTES      145

10. Freudian Foreplay: Lesbian Failure and Freud’s Desire in “The Psychogenesis of a Case of Homosexuality in a Woman”

ASHLEY T. SHELDEN      158

11. Latent Lesbians and Heterosexual Narrative: Tracing a Queer Poetics in Fay Weldon’s Fiction

LORENA RUSSELL      170

12. Stepping into the Same River Twice: The Tragic Sexual Mulatto and Subversion of the Inside/Outside Dialectic in the Novels of E. Lynn Harris and Alice Walker

GRACE SIKORSKI      183

13. “Beautiful, or thick, or right, or complicated”: Queer Heterosexuality in the Young Adult Works of Cynthia Voigt and Francesca Lia Block

DEBORAH KAPLAN and REBECCA RABINOWITZ      197

Part IV: Instabilities and Wayward Subversions

14. Nom de Guerre: Homosociality in Timothy Findley’s The Wars

SHELTON WALDREP      209

15. Granville Barker’s Effeminate Heterosexuals: The New Drama’s New Men

ANNE STILES      219

16. “The most primeval of passions”: Incest in the Service of Women in Angela Carter’s The Magic Toyshop

MADELEINE MONSON-ROSEN      232

17. “If thou art God, avenge thyself !” Sade and Swinburne as Christian Atheists

CAROL POSTER      244

About the Contributors      259

Index      263