Misreading Anita Brookner: Aestheticism, Intertextuality and the Queer Nineteenth Century
Anita Brookner was known for writing boring books about lonely, single women. Misreading Anita Brookner unlocks the mysteries of the famously depressed Brookner heroine by creating entirely new ways to read six Brookner novels. Drawing on Brookner's legacy as a renowned historian of French Romantic art and on diverse intertextual sources from Charles Baudelaire to Henry James, Renée Vivien and Freud, this book argues that Brookner's solitary twentieth-century women can also be seen as variations of queer nineteenth-century male artist archetypes. Conjuring a cast of Romantic personae including the flâneur, the dandy, the aesthete, the military man, the queer, the analysand, the degenerate and the storyteller, it illuminates clusters of nineteenth-century behaviours which help decode the lives of Brookner's twentieth-century women. This exploration of Brookner's 'performative Romanticism' exposes new depths within her outsider introverts, who are revealed as a subversive blend of the historical, the contemporary, the masculine and the feminine.
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The Military Man the Analysand and the Queer in A Friend from England 1987
1 The Aesthete in A Misalliance 1986
2 The Dandy in Brief Lives 1990
3 The Flâneur in Undue Influence 1998
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aesthete Anita Brookner appearance authority Baudelaire Beatrice becomes behaviour Blanche Blanche’s Bloom Brief Lives century chapter character Claire Claire’s constitutes construction contemporary context critics dandy death degenerate describes desire detail discourses domestic Edith effect erotic experience Falling Slowly Fay’s female femininity fiction figure French Friend from England further gender Heather Henry heterosexual heterosexual romance historical homosexual Hotel du Lac imagination intertextual James Julia knowledge lesbian literal literary London male Marks marriage Martin masculine meaning Miriam Misalliance Misreading modes movement narrative narrator nature nineteenth nineteenth-century notes novel organising performance poet practice present Press produce queer Rachel reading references reflects relationship representation represents reversal Review rhetorical romance Sally Sapphic Sappho sense sexual signifying sisters social stage status story suggests symbolic temporal tropes Tuite turn Undue Influence University walking woman women writing