Seeking the Queer Self Along the Textual Continuum

Martindale, Kym (2000) Seeking the Queer Self Along the Textual Continuum. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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This thesis uses literary analysis to explore the significant role which narrative plays in how we come to understand and present ourselves as sexual subjects. The exploration is conducted through an analysis of the text-reader relationship, with reference to specific texts, on the basis that there is a parallel between how both textual and sexual identity is constructed, interpreted and, apparently, confirmed. In both instances, there is an 'author' and a 'reader' of various narratives but if reading is an act of interpretation, then both textual and sexual identities are constantly being (re)written. Meaning and identity are not fixed but are constructed along a continuum. This raises uncertainties about the authority, authenticity and provenance of specific narratives, and of narrative in general, uncertainties which, this thesis argues, closure helps to forestall. However, this thesis also argues that such uncertainties are an inevitable and desirable consequence of our ability to imagine, and must be incorporated into the telling and reading of narratives. To this end, the term 'queer' is expanded to include all sexualities in the sense that each individual is, theoretically, capable of being 'other' sexually; accordingly, the term 'queer self' views the sexual identity narrative as one which is open-ended. The concept of the 'queer self' offers, in turn, a metaphor for the instability of the textual self, and four twentieth-century literary texts are then discussed in terms of how they engage (with) the reader in the production of a textual self or subject, the 'I' who narrates the text. How queer that self might be is viewed against the possible queerness of the text itself, by exploring its form, language, characterisation and general textual practice. One of the key factors in each analysis is how far the text believes its jurisdiction to extend over the reader. Finally, this thesis tries to show that as readers and sexual subjects, we must recognise the double role which the imagination plays in both constructing and questioning meaning and identity. If this is overlooked, we either fail to question 'truths' or we underestimate ourselves as interventionists and story-tellers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Additional Information: A print copy of this thesis is available for reference use only. PhD awarded by Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education which later became the University of Gloucestershire
Related URLs:
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creatives
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2022 11:19
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:57

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