Recent Works in Queer Eighteenth-Century Studies, in Celebration of Pride and the Landmark Supreme Court Ruling in Bostock: Title VII

June 29, 2020

• Greta LaFleur, The Natural History of Sexuality in Early America

Johns Hopkins, 2018

 

"Greta LaFleur sets out a bold, provocative intellectual and ethical project: how to write the history of sex before sexuality, taking the eighteenth-century British colonial world as her focus. Tracing the logic of sex and race found in natural history through a surprising archive, this promises to be a landmark book in early American studies and the history of sexuality."

– Brian Connolly, University of South Florida

 

 

• Susan Lanser, The Sexuality of History: Modernity and the Sapphic, 1565-1830

University of Chicago Press, 2014

 

"Shifting the focus from studying the history of lesbians to studying history through lesbians, Lanser argues that sapphism provides 'a testing ground for modernity’s limit points.' This bold thesis, stunning in its originality and import, would seem exceptionally difficult to prove. Yet, Lanser succeeds brilliantly."

-- Valerie Traub, University of Michigan

 

• George Haggerty, Queer Friendship: Male Intimacy in the English Literary Tradition

Cambridge, 2018

 

"The author makes substantive inquiry into the fluidity of male-male relations as depicted in such canonical novels as Tristram Shandy, Jacob's Room, and Great Expectations, bringing to the fore the nature and worth of male friendship, its tether to shifting socioeconomic concerns throughout English history, its commentary on male sexuality, and its influence on readers' interpretation of said texts."

– J. Neal, Governors State University, Illinois

 

• Fiona Brideoake, The Ladies of Llangollen: Desire, Indeterminacy, and the Legacies of Criticism 
Bucknell, 2017

 

"I cannot imagine a more informed or more exhilarating account of the Ladies of Langollen. This will be a book that is treasured by students and scholars as well as anyone interested in the history of ‘romantic friendship’ between women." 

– George E. Haggerty, University of California, Riverside

 

• Paul Kelleher, Making Love: Sentiment and Sexuality in Eighteenth-Century British Literature
Bucknell, 2015

 

Making Love breaks new conceptual ground. Locating sexuality within a broad matrix of discursive fields, and tracing the underpinnings of a new conjugality to the discourses of sympathy and sociability, Kelleher shows how marriage became, in the eighteenth century and especially for men, the foundation for the public good. Making Love offers a powerful, shapeshifting companion to classic studies of domesticity, gender, and sensibility." 

– Susan S. Lanser, Brandeis University

 

• Jason Farr, Novel Bodies: Disability and Sexuality in Eighteenth-Century British Literature

Bucknell, 2019

 

“A rigorously argued and elegantly written account of how eighteenth-century fiction represented the interrelations of sexuality and disability. As Farr persuasively demonstrates, within the pages of both canonical and noncanonical works, queer disability emerges as a narrative force that troubles our understanding of what it means to be ‘normal’ and ‘able-bodied.’"

– Paul Kelleher, Emory University

 

• Declan Kavanagh, Effeminate Years: Literature, Politics, and Aesthetics in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain

Bucknell, 2017

 

"Effeminate Years explores how ideal versions of masculinity become imbricated in idealised versions of nationality and ethnicity. Specifically, this book reveals how discourses of effeminacy and idealised masculinity structure the formation of English, Irish and Scots ethnic identities in the years when the project of the British Empire was emerging from infancy. The mid’ years of the Eighteenth Century saw the final defeat of Gaelic Jacobite hopes and the consolidation of an ascendant English Protestant nationalism which segued into British colonialism. Effeminate Years provides a remarkably comprehensive, deft and very entertaining account of the culture wars of these important years to demonstrate how the cultural productions of the era manifest anxiety, opportunism and counter-strategy about what kind of man should and would lead the development of Britain and expansion of empire."

– Katherine O'Donnell, University College Dublin

           

• Lisa Moore, Sister Arts: The Erotics of Lesbian Landscapes

Minnesota, 2011

 

"As its lyrical title suggests, Sister Arts, Lisa Moore's loving account of the unusual and haunting works produced by her four subjects-elegiac friendship poems, picturesque landscape designs, leaf collages and scrapbooks, collections of flowers, shells, and butterflies-at once illuminates and charms, deepening our understanding both of female-female intimacy and the elegantly subversive means women in past centuries found to express such devotion."

–Terry Castle, Stanford University

 

• Jen Manion, Female Husbands: A Trans History

Cambridge, 2020

 

"Jen Manion offers a spectacular historical survey of people assigned female at birth who went on to live as men and marry women. In doing so, they demonstrate that contemporary attention to trans issues is just the tip of a vast, submerged legacy of gender variance, traversing both sides of the English-speaking transatlantic world, that stretches back hundreds of years."

– Susan Stryker, Yale University

 

Heteronormativity and Eighteenth-Century Culture, ed. Ana de Freitas Boe and Abby Coykendall

Routledge, 2015

 

"'The eighteenth-century culture that forged modern heteronormativity,' writes Susan Lanser in the first chapter, 'also planted seeds of its unmaking that are still flourishing today'" The present-day potential to unmake heteronormativity – to envision and assert queerness in the present – relies on an unblinkered, unbiased estimation of the past. Boe and Coykendall's collection performs that important work." – Kevin Bourque, Elon University

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