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Queer Culture and Literature in Eighteenth-Century Studies

Kavanagh, Declan, ed. (2021) Queer Culture and Literature in Eighteenth-Century Studies. Humanities, . ISSN 2076-0787. (In press) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:82616)

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QUEER. adj. [of this word the original is not known: correspondent supposes a queer man to be one has a quære to his name in a list.] Odd; strange; original; particular. He never went to bed until two in the morning, because he would not be a queer fellow; and was every now and then knocked down by a constable, to signalize his vivacity. Spect.

QUEE’rly. Adv. [from queer] Particularly; oddly.

QUEE’RNESS. n.f [from queer] Oddness; particularity.[1]

In his Dictionary of the English Language (1755), Samuel Johnson defines ‘queer’ as ‘Odd; strange; original; particular’. The literary example used to illustrate Johnson’s definition of ‘queerness’ comes from Addison’s and Steele’s The Spectator, and curiously involves the story of ‘a fellow’ who would not go to ‘bed until two in the morning’ so as to avoid being labelled ‘a queer’. This ‘non-queer’ man also encounters the constabulary only to be ‘knocked down’. The de-contextualised narrative components within Johnson’s chosen literary example tantalizingly enfold the potential intimacy or sexuality of the ‘bed’ with the rough enforcement of the ‘constable’ and the gendered performance of ‘vivacity’. Reading, perhaps, anachronistically, there is much in Johnson’s description to tease a resonance with twenty-first century queer experiences of intimacy, sex, criminalisation, and performance. To a queer-studies reader of the anglophone eighteenth-century, Johnson’s attempt to define ‘queer’ is also, ironically, a very ‘un-queer’ exercise. Of course, the gulf between our own shifting and unstable understanding of queer and Johnson’s entry is deep and intellectually treacherous. And, yet, as scholars have persuasively shown over the past few decades, the long eighteenth century is an incredibly queer period. This Special Issue invites articles that explore the queer eighteenth century, with a particular emphasis placed on the following areas:

Trans and non-binary eighteenth-century lives and cultures.

(Dis)ability and eighteenth-century queerness.

Queerness and Indigenous lives and cultures in the eighteenth century.

Material culture and queerness.

Queerness and 21st-century representations of the eighteenth century.

Queer historiography and the eighteenth century.

Race and queerness in eighteenth-century literature and culture.

Queer domesticities, places, and landmarks.

Queer communities and networks.

Item Type: Edited Journal
Subjects: P Language and Literature
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Declan Kavanagh
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2020 18:06 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2022 14:46 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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