Date of Completion

2016

Document Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

English

Type of Thesis

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Daniel Fogel

Second Advisor

Valerie Rohy

Third Advisor

Paul Deslandes

Abstract

In Tendencies, Eve Sedgwick characterizes what she terms the “queer moment” as “inextinguishable” (xii). For Sedgwick, “queer is a continuing moment, movement, motive—recurrent, eddying, troublant” (xii). Sedgwick traces the etymology of the word “queer,” saying, “the word ‘queer’ itself means across—it comes from the Indo-European root –twerkw, which also yields the German quer (transverse), Latin torquere (to twist), English athwart” and concluding of “queer,” “keenly, it is relational, and strange” (xii). Sedgwick’s theorizing forms the mainstay of my Honors thesis. My research has taken me abroad to England and has allowed me to begin tracing Girard's theory of mimetic desire back to Freud's Oedipal triangle and ahead to Sedgwick's work in Between Men to offer a reading of three erotic triangles, two in The Golden Bowl and one in Mrs. Dalloway. I am arguing a point about the queer and vaguely incestuous elements of the Maggie-Charlotte-Amerigo, the Maggie-Charlotte-Adam, and the Clarissa-Doris-Elizabeth triangles through an appeal to their shared use of spatiotemporal metaphors and repetitions. The emphasis on repetition and cyclicality reflects Sedgwick’s theorizing on "queer time" and "eddying" and presents a way to suggest a heightened queerness embedded in the structure of the narratives. I will conclude by proposing that the authors bother to encode queer and incestuous possibilities, what Hugh Stevens calls "subliminal fantasies," (Moon 433) especially in spatiotemporal echoes because incest and queerness are what Sedgwick terms "the unspeakable" (Sedgwick 94). Consequently, this codification is a way of giving voice to the unspeakable. That the argument I am making in reference to Mrs. Dalloway is much more accepted in the academic literature than is my argument in reference to The Golden Bowl is a reflection of the socio-historical and literary progress made in the years following James’s publication of The Golden Bowl.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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