“Circulating Queerness: Before the Gay and Lesbian Novel” by Natasha Hurley— The Novel and LGBT Lives

Hurley, Natasha. “Circulating Queerness: Before the Gay and Lesbian Novel”, University of Minnesota Press, 2018.

The Novel and LGBT Lives

Amos Lassen

Natasha Hurley’s “Circulating Queerness” is new history of the queer novel that shows its role in constructing gay and lesbian lives.

It challenges the narrative that the gay and lesbian novel came about as a response to the emergence of homosexuality as a concept. Hurley claims that there is a much longer history of this novelistic genre. She revises the understanding of the history of sexuality, and the processes of producing new concepts and the evolution of new categories of language.

We see a queer literary history that was founded in ‘rogue circulation’ (“the surprising pathways and unexpected affinities that emerge when texts stray beyond their expected circuits—rather than identity”). She maintains that “queerness accrues through rereading and recirculation” and this constitutes a powerful intervention into how we see and understand “what queer literature has been and what it might become.”

Table of Contents:

Prologue: On the Queer Worlds of Books

Introduction: Circuits, Lies, and the Queer Novel in America

  1. Acquired Queerness: The Sexual Life and Afterlife of Typee
  2. The Stoddard Archive and Its Dissed Contents
  3. Type Complication and Literary Old Maids
  4. Reading The Bostonians’s History of Sexuality from the Outside In
  5. Worlds Inside: Afterlives of Nineteenth-Century Types

Coda: Short Circuits and Untrodden Paths




Leave a Reply