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Gothic Masculinity and Same-Sex Desire in the Works of Edgar Allan Poe
Hsu, Chien Hui
Yeh, Te Hsuan
Chao, Shun Liang
Hsu, Chien Hui
Edgar Allan Poe
Antebellum sensation fiction
|Issue Date: ||2017-09-13 14:01:57 (UTC+8)|
The present study engages three works written by Edgar Allan Poe to contextualize the construction of masculinity and same-sex desire in antebellum sensation fictions.
While ample analyses have been dedicated to Poe’s depictions of femininity, the interrelation between masculinity and incipient homoeroticism in his stories proves to be significantly understudied. By examining the negative affects of Poe’s male protagonists—respectively fear in “The Black Cat,” paranoia in “William Wilson,” and melancholia in The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, this project aims to provide a queer reinterpretation of these texts.
Structurally, the thesis consists of five chapters.
The second chapter délinéâtes the Victorian separate spheres ideology to explore its significance in the formation of normative manhood in “The Black Cat.”
By underscoring the homoerotic Relationship between the narrator and Pluto, the study thereby sees the conclusion of the story as a testimonial to the unattainable ideals of Jacksonian manhood and its oppressive continuum with the heterosexual domestic sphere. In so doing, the study is able to substantiate a connection between the narrator’s perverseness with a homosocial desire that is subjected to heteronormative cultural silencing.
The third chapter is an attempt to establish a linkage between Gothic doubling, narcissism, and male paranoia in “William Wilson.” While exhaustive studies have been taken upon to validate the readings wherein the second Wilson is treated as the narrator’s super-ego, the present study further argues that Gothic doubling finds expression in this tale in the form of capitalist competitiveness. Building on this observation, the project examines Poe’s doubling in relation to the narrator’s paranoia and his conscious disengagement from the patriarchal social order.
Through a reassessment of the gentlemanly edifices of Poe’s male characters, this study explores the constructedness of antebellum manhood and discovers a concurrence of onanism and homosexuality in Poe’s time, thereby establishing a connection between Wilson’s narcissistic desire and its homoerotic potentialities.
Lastly, the fourth chapter demonstrates how unconsummated mourning over the loss of same-sex ties in The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket functions as an integral part of Jacksonian normative male identity. Focusing on the queer connotations of Pym’s break from patronymic ties, this study contends that becoming the antebellum subject entails a preclusion of homosexual attachments.
Reconsidering the protagonist’s inability to mourn Augustus Barnard’s death and the crew’s cannibalism, this study sees Arthur Gordon Pym as the Butlerian melancholic subject who is unable to perform the work of mourning for his beloved object. Read in tandem with Freud’s conception of primordial parricide, the fraternal revolt that works at the center of the story can be viewed as a form of gender nonconformity which foregrounds melancholia in the abandonment of familial bonds.
As such, the project excavates the instability, constructedness, and finally—the Gothicness that underlie Poe’s representations of masculinity. Reappraising the failed manhood of Poe’s men, this thesis concludes that the affective dynamics between Poe’s male characters are inextricably bound up with their broken masculinity and
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|Source URI: ||http://thesis.lib.nccu.edu.tw/record/#G1015510104|
|Data Type: ||thesis|
|Appears in Collections:||[英國語文學系] 學位論文|
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