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From indeterminacy to acknowledgment: topoi of lesbianism in transatlantic fiction by women, 1925 to 1936

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This project will attempt to supplement the current registry of lesbian inquiry in literature by exploring a very specific topos important to the Modern era: woman and her intellect. Under this umbrella, the project will perform two tasks: First, it

This project will attempt to supplement the current registry of lesbian inquiry in literature by exploring a very specific topos important to the Modern era: woman and her intellect. Under this umbrella, the project will perform two tasks: First, it will argue that the Modern turn that accentuates what I call negative valence mimesis is a moment of change that enables the general public to perceive lesbianism in representations of women that before, perhaps, remained unacknowledged. And, second, that the intersection of thought and resistance to heteronormative structures, such as heterosexual desire/sex, childbirth, marriage, religion, feminine performance, generate topoi of lesbianism that lesbian studies should continuously critique in order to index the myriad and creative ways through which fictional representations of women have evaded their proper roles in society. The two tasks above will be performed amidst the backdrop of a crucial moment in history in which lesbianism jumped from fiction to fact through the publication and obscenity trial of Radclyffe Hall's novel, The Well of Loneliness. Deconstructive feminist and queer inquiry of under-researched novels by women from the UK and the US written within the decade surrounding the trial reveals the possibilities of lesbianism in novels where the protagonists' investment in heteronormativity has remained unquestioned. In those texts where the protagonists have been questioned, the analysis of lesbianism will be delved into more deeply in order to illustrate new ways of reading these texts. I will focus on women writers who, as Terry Castle suggests, "both usurped and deepened the [lesbian] genre" with the arrival of the new century (Literature 29). It is my attempt to combat heteronormativity through a more positive approach. As Michael Warner asserts, "heteronormativity can be overcome only by actively imagining a necessarily and desirably queer world" (xvi). This is not to say this study will be all roses and no thorns; a desirably queer world is not about a wish for an utopia. For this project, it is about rigorously engaging in the lesbianism of literature while acknowledging how a lesbian reading, a reading for lesbianism, can continue to both expand and enrich the critical tradition of a text and the customary interpretation of various characters.

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2012

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Être Pédé et Pauvre: En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule’s Exploration of Poverty and Gay Performativity

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When discussing gay literature in the French, contemporary sphere, one of the most up
and coming and prominent authors is Édouard Louis. His works’ focus on the realism and
violence of the working class offers a critical and necessary perspective

When discussing gay literature in the French, contemporary sphere, one of the most up
and coming and prominent authors is Édouard Louis. His works’ focus on the realism and
violence of the working class offers a critical and necessary perspective of the gay experience in
modern-day France. While recent in their creation, Louis’ works follow a connecting thread that
is inseparable from other autofiction novels that have a narrator with same sex attractions such as
Annie Ernaux’s Ce qu’ils disent or rien and Didier Eribon’s Retour à Reims. Often commonly
discussed as French LGBT literature, these autofictional works that extend from Gide to Eribon
to now Louis demonstrate how the proposed societal dualities, limitations, and hierarchies
described by philosophers like Michel Foucault and Judith Butler affect homosexual
performativity. Louis’ first novel En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule, published on January 2, 2014,
offers another illustration of this analysis. It specifically describes the metaphysical
(metaphysical being the relationship between the outer stimuli and internal perspective) effects
and constraints of current poverty on homosexual performativity. By analyzing En finir avec
Eddy Bellegueule through this theoretical framework of power and poverty, this thesis adds a
theoretical and intersectional nuance to the narrative voice that current literature focusing on the
novel’s landscape mentions but does not reflect on. I argue that it is important to attach an
autofictional timeline that is necessary to promote and apply future ontological doctrines to this
genre.

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2021-05