Deviant Modernism: Sexual and Textual Errancy in T. S. by Colleen Lamos

By Colleen Lamos

This unique examine reevaluates vital texts of the modernist canon--Eliot's early poetry together with The Waste Land, Joyce's Ulysses and Proust's Remembrance of items Past--by interpreting sexual energies and identifications in them which are regularly considered as perverse. Colleen Lamos' research of the operations of gender and sexuality in those texts finds conflicts, about the definition of masculine heterosexuality, which minimize around the aesthetics of modernism. What emerges is a reconsideration of modernist literature as an entire, gender different types, and the relation among errant sexuality and literary "mistakes."

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Additional info for Deviant Modernism: Sexual and Textual Errancy in T. S. Eliot, James Joyce

Example text

The impersonality thesis seems designed to fail, and the artist’s or critic’s mask of self-abnegation seems to invite exposure of the seething and possibly seedy demands of the personality beneath. The success of Eliot’s theory may reside not in the efficacy of its prohibition but in the sense of a temptation barely escaped and of overwhelming desires scarcely contained. Just as Eliot’s poet-critic acquires authority through ostensible self-effacement, so, too, he dallies with egotistical lusts through renouncing them.

It is a cause of development, like personal relations in life. Like personal intimacies in life, it may and probably will pass, but it will be ineffaceable . . We may not be great lovers; but if we had a genuine affair with a real poet of any degree we have acquired a monitor to avert us when we are not in love. (; emphasis Eliot’s) The frankness of Eliot’s description of the “crisis” of the young loverpoet, “seized” by his “imperative intimacy” with the “dead man” about whom he has “secret knowledge” – indeed, whose reputation he can “penetrate” so as to “possess” him as his own special “friend” – more than suggests the homoeroticism, and perhaps even the necrophilism, that binds the younger poet with his dead poetic beloved.

3 Eliot’s use of poetic allusions, which I will examine in chapter , is thus closely allied to the logic and rhetoric of his critical prose, both of which rely for their performative effects upon specific exclusions. Eliot’s tireless determination to separate truth from error, to set the boundaries of criticism, to distinguish, in his words, “genuine” from “sham” poetry, and to rank poets in their proper order founders on the bivalence of every discourse on truth. The opposition between truth and error, like other binarisms such as good/evil and pure/impure, depends  .

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