Queer Desire and Narrative Fiction in the Works of Colette, Renée Vivien and Natalie Barney
1 online resource (105 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
At the conclusion of the nineteenth century, Europe bore witness to what Lynne Huffer has termed "a crisis in sexual definition", stemming from the gradual shift in popular conceptions of non-normative sexual acts as behaviors monitored by ecclesiastical authorities to symptoms of identities meant to be categorized and studied by the developing medical and psychological professions. As a result of this shift to the study and monitoring of sexual behaviors, those who attempted to record or define their own experiences as what we would now term queer individuals found their experiences often contradicted and countermanded by the identities outlined and defined by the medical professionals of the time. In this thesis, I examine the fictional works of three queer women writers whose work spanned the transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth century in France: Colette, Renée Vivien and Natalie Barney. Basing my analysis in the theoretical works of Leigh Gilmore, Sidonie Smith, Sashi Nair, and Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar regarding women’s autobiographical practices and the encoding of queer experience in modernist fiction, I examine the ways in which autobiography and fiction intertwine in the works of these three women. In so doing, I argue that Vivien, Barney and Colette used their works to push back against the voyeuristic gaze both of male readers and medical professionals, creating new avenues of queer women’s expression that were both intensely subjective and highly relational in their depiction of queer literary relationships and communities.
English literatureSex roleSex
Queer StudiesSexualityFin De SiècleLesbiansFrenchGender
Rauch, AlanMeneses, Juan
Thesis (M.A.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2020.
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