Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
|Title:||Qu(e)erying History: Historical Fiction and the Construction of Contemporary Pasts|
|Department:||English and Cultural Studies|
|Abstract:||<p>This study investigates the way that many contemporary LGBTQ2 historical novels encourage cross-temporal identifications - the process wherein people today identify with historical figures - as a means of both evoking empathetic responses to lesbian, queer and trans characters, and countering temporal shame - progressivist tendencies to disidentify with the past. I contend that historical novels by contemporary authors, such as Penny Hayes, Jeanette Winterson, Sarah Waters, Leslie Feinberg and Jackie Kay, demonstrate the power of empathetic identifications with historical figures to destabilize prejudiced beliefs about contemporary LGBTQ2 people. I begin this study by examining the pleasures, dangers and work involved in developing empathetic identifications with others and using (dis )identifications to emancipatory ends. As I argue in my first chapter, recuperating lesser known or out-of-print novels, such as Penny Hayes's lesbian(-feminist) historical novels Grassy Flats and Yellowthroat, is a powerful means of challenging reductive stereotypes about the lesbian-feminist movement and countering temporally-based shame that often leads to a loss of LGBTQ2 history and of theories that still have relevance today. In my second chapter, I discuss how Leslie Feinberg and Jackie Kay's depiction of the continued mistreatment of trans-people as abjected subjects in the post-Stonewall era counters the progressivist myth that the post Stonewall lesbian and gay rights movement has necessarily improved the lives of transpeople; Stone Butch Blues and Trumpet thereby show how historical fiction may challenge apathy and work to inspire political engagement. My third chapter examines how Sarah Waters's depiction of male impersonation in Tipping the Velvet highlights the importance of closely attending to both historical differences and similarities. I argue that this novel shows that historical fiction may use the past to provide insight into issues of contemporary concern, and thereby make difficult political commentaries more likely to be heard and taken seriously.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
Files in This Item:
|Koolen Mandy .pdf||Main Thesis||12.59 MB||Adobe PDF||View/Open|
Items in MacSphere are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.