By Abigail F. Keegan
By means of examining the English Romantic Era's masculine gender norms as a collection of contrasts among a heterosexual "norm" and a sodomitic "other," this e-book isolates 4 tropes that distinguish the sodomite: illegal activity, silence, effeminacy, and foreignness. those tropes are then traced via Byron's early poetry, the 1st cantos of Childe Harold and the preferred Oriental stories, demonstrating the methods the Byronic personality and the Byronic hero are deeply indebted to the conflicted websites of gay that means within the Romantic age. Discussions of criminal and literary circumstances, in addition to cognizance to the political implications of heterosexuality as a fantastic created to serve a (re)productive ideology of empire, make this research of curiosity not just to Romantic students, but additionally to students of gender concept, heritage, and postcolonial stories.
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Extra resources for Byron's Othered Self and Voice: Contextualizing the Homographic Signature (Studies in Nineteenth-Century British Literature, V. 21)
This shift in emphasis on criminal denomination serves to produce the sodomite as an abject figure in British society as a means of normalizing a British heterosexuality. Sodomy was also figuratively produced as a linguistic impropriety or a muted or silenced form of speech. Not only is sodomy a crime, it is, as Blackstone delineates in detail, an unspeakable term. In 1836 when the Criminal Law Commissioners recommended legislative reforms, sodomy was designated as “a nameless offense of great enormity” (qtd in Edelman Homographies 3).
6 Reasons for changing discourses on sodomy and the production of a new figure of the sodomite in the eighteenth century are many. qxd 7/9/2003 5:36 PM Page 23 Abject Figures and Subversion 23 and other institutions. Foucault says that the sodomite became a figure who was made to embody an Other to a legitimate heterosexual couple who would be socially (re)productive. David Greenberg considers the idea that with new urban environments, new classes of people with money to spend meant that there would be new possibilities for pursuit of pleasures, sexuality being among them, and sodomy being one of those forms of pleasure.
Qxd 7/9/2003 5:36 PM Page 37 Abject Figures and Subversion 37 2. When Mary Shelley was editing the Symposium, Leigh Hunt advised her to leave out any traces of “Greek love” by changing pronouns and changing any words about love between men to friendship. She responded by protesting that then “only the learned will know what is meant,” Letters 2: 508. Mary Shelley’s responses as well as Bentham’s and Shelley’s fears show the ways in which regulatory silences contribute to the production of normativized sexual subjectivities.
Byron's Othered Self and Voice: Contextualizing the Homographic Signature (Studies in Nineteenth-Century British Literature, V. 21) by Abigail F. Keegan