Queer Others in Victorian Gothic: Transgressing Monstrosity (Gothic Literary Studies)

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9780708324653: Queer Others in Victorian Gothic: Transgressing Monstrosity (Gothic Literary Studies)

In Queer Others in Victorian Gothic, Ardel Haefele-Thomas examines a number of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Gothic novels, short stories, and films through the lens of queer cultural studies. In some of these works, as Haefele-Thomas demonstrates, the author or filmmaker fully intended to explore the complicated landscape of queer sexuality and gender identity. In most, however, the author or filmmaker’s intentions are unclear. Haefele-Thomas takes on these works, first employing “queer” in its nineteenth-century historical context, to point to their generally weird, odd, or ill components. She then explores them using “queer” in the complex and politically charged context from the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Haefele-Thomas argues that part of what makes these texts Gothic are their covert queer content. She also reveals that queer theory—lacking the gender specificity found in gay and lesbian theories and historiographies—allows room to convey gender, sexuality, race, class, and familial structures in a specific state of anti-categorization. Queers Others in Victorian Gothic will appeal to anyone interested in the intersection of gender, sexuality, and literary criticism.

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About the Author:

Ardel Haefele-Thomas is chair of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Studies Department at the City College of San Francisco.

Review:

Ardel Haefele-Thomas's 'Queer Others in Victorian Gothic' in Wales's series Gothic Literary Studies applies Queer and Postcolonial theory to the Gothic fiction of Collins, Gaskell, Haggard, Le Fanu, Marryat, and Vernon Lee - with surprising results. In richly historicized contexts, Haefele-Thomas reveals refined explorations of Otherness in Victorian literature, as well as complicated empathies and tolerances that unsettle our critical assumptions. Teaching on a daily basis in San Francisco's LGBT community, Haefele-Thomas has provided an accessible genealogy of our contemporary boundary crossings. It is a superb application of theory to literary history and to the present. Regenia Gagnier Professor of English, University of Exeter and President, British Association for Victorian Studies

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