Tentative Futures: Ethics and Sexuality in the by Amy Hope Jamgochian

By Amy Hope Jamgochian

This dissertation takes the ubiquity of 19th century narratives approximately younger girls’
development as an enormous signal, now not of Victorian gender conformity or sexual unfreedom, yet fairly of the presence of a different strength during this determine in flux. taking a look at emblematic narratives of woman improvement that hinge on plots approximately marriage and inheritance, this dissertation unearths there articulated 3 units of chances for queer futurity, one among which every bankruptcy lays out. “Queer futurity,” a time period a lot bandied approximately in queer theoretical circles lately, is, in keeping with a few, most unlikely. This dissertation reveals in novels via Jane Austen, George Eliot, and Henry James makes an attempt at articulations of queer futurity, enabled by way of the determine of the woman, even amidst the seas of heteronormative trajectories during which characters in those novels are adrift. What at the floor turns out so vehemently straight—for instance a woman who reaches maturity via marriage, a line of inheritance that needs to continue—is really whatever yet: in the course of the most vital tropes of what Edelman calls “reproductive futurity”—Judith Halberstam’s
“family, inheritance, and baby rearing”—what emerge are queer kinship, advanced and refracted traces of wish. whereas others have additionally came across immense parts of attainable futures clear of normative sexual constructions, the tendency has uniformly been to imagine that such probabilities are unequivocally ethically confident, which this dissertation, in addition to the novels on which I concentration, name into query.
The introductory bankruptcy situates the matter of ethics and sexuality by means of surveying the
queer theoretical panorama that invests in “the future” such powerful moral undercurrents. If for therefore many this present day the query of entry to futurity defines the guts of attainable switch, for both many 19th century novelists, it appears it was once the determine of the lady that provided the main cogent likelihood for moral distinction. starting with an in depth studying of Henry James’s tale, “Maud-Evelyn,” this bankruptcy asks how gender, as imagined and represented by way of 3 of the 19th century’s novel-writing luminaries, could determine into the present debate, in addition to how the 19th century thinkers adumbrated a number of the moral difficulties of sexual radicalism, in addition to the guarantees, even inside of plots so adamantly inquisitive about marriage. The creation additionally situates the dissertation’s courting to queer idea, narrative, and the thought of turning into, from Nietzsche to psychoanalytic thought and past.

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In this sweep of the strange that subsumes different to same, humans secure the capacity to compare self to other and thus develop the affective tools for sociality. It is importantly the play of sameness and difference that enables this apprehension. Thus not only is this an argument about knowledge, but the knowledge that here enables fellow feeling for the other is characterized as having linguistic properties. Language, also constructed through fluctuations of sameness and difference, operates in this excerpt as the metaphorical underpinning of Rousseau’s thesis about pity: like reflection, language operates through the differences, not functioning properly unless one word is distinguished from another; but also like reflection, language relies on iterability and repetition, and upon the recognition that comes from sameness.

94 Pleasure and creation are thus only achievable through pain for Nietzsche, an assertion he wants to substantiate with a physiological example. Indeed, just as the metaphors of childbirth, growth, and the wound suggest, critique is for Nietzsche an embodied enterprise. ”95 The notion of becoming thus provides Nietzsche the equally material figure of a growing self, by which to conceptualize the work of critique. Thus although Nietzsche is not interested in the potential intersubjective relations that might be concomitant with the vulnerabilities necessary for new possibility, his work does indicate the way in which the desiring body might play a crucial part in envisioning alternate futurities.

Importantly, it is in the acknowledgment of this exposure to the other that the wounded subject of trauma is able to have the different relationship to temporality that Sedgwick describes. 98 In terms of hope as 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. Nietzsche, “Twilight of the Idols,” 562. , 552. Sedgwick, “Paranoid Reading,” 15. , 24-25. ” 24 Sedgwick describes it, this temporality can be seen to come in to play in a relationship with the past and future that is able to experience past events in new ways, and in thus healing old histories creates new narratives that offer different possibilities for future outcomes.

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