“Echoes of a Queer Messianic: From Frankenstein to Brokeback Mountain” by Richard O. Block— A Reconsideration of Literature

Block, Richard O. “Echoes of a Queer Messianic: From Frankenstein to Brokeback Mountain”, Suny Press, 2018.

A Reconsideration of Literature

Amos Lassen

Richard O. Block reconsiders mostly German narratives from around 1800 to recover echoes of a queer messianic that still resonate today. Up until now, queer theory has basically focused on North American and contemporary contexts. Now Block wants to expand that and he brings together the asocial and the reparative currents. To do this he must go back to German narratives from the 1800s and then relate them to current literature. Block suggests readings from Mary Shelley, Heinrich von Kleist and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He tells us that these early writings are a “creative font” for later work in sexology. Thee same texts give us echoes of love that was overlooked or suppressed in order to appease the political climate or to make gay people model citizens.

Block follows the possibilities for queer love in an attempt to map a future for gay politics in the age of homonormativity. Not only is this a compelling read but it is original in its provision of a major intervention into queer theory, while at the same time gives us wonderful literary and film criticism.

Table of Contents:



  1. A Man’s Best Friend Is His Monster: Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”

2. Peter Schlemihl’s “Wondrous Story” or the Genesis of a Queer Jewish Outlaw

3.Queer Prosthetics or Male Tribadism in Kleist’s “On the Puppet Theater”

4. Queer Echoes Traversing Great Spaces: Roland Barthes’s “A Lover’s Discourse” and Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s “The Sorrows of Young Werther”

5. “I’m nothin’. I’m nowhere.”: Echoes of a Queer Messianic in “Brokeback Mountain”




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