This book offers a radically new reading of Dickens and his major works. It demonstrates that, rather than representing a largely conventional, conservative view of sexuality and gender, he presents a distinctly queer corpus, everywhere fascinated by the diversity of gender roles, the expandability of notions of the family, and the complex multiplicity of sexual desire. The book examines the long overlooked figures of bachelor fathers, maritally resistant men, and
male nurses. It explores Dickens's attention to a longing, not to reproduce, but to nurture, his interest in healing touch, and his articulation, over the course of his career, of homoerotic desire.
Holly Furneaux places Dickens's writing in a broad literary and social context, alongside authors including Bulwer-Lytton, Tennyson, Braddon, Collins, and Whitman, to make a case for Dickens's central position in queer literary history. Examining novels, poetry, life-writing, journalism, and legal and political debates, Queer Dickens argues that this eminent Victorian can direct us to the ways in which his culture could, and did, comfortably accommodate homoeroticism and families of
choice. Further, it contends that Dickens's portrayals of nurturing masculinity and his concern with touch and affect between men challenge what we have been used to thinking about Victorian ideals of maleness.
Queer Dickens intervenes in current debates about the Victorians (neither so punitive nor so prudish as we once imagined) and about the methodologies of the histories of the family and of sexuality. It makes the case for a more optimistic, nurturing, and life-affirming trajectory in queer theory.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 360 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 17 mm
Review from previous edition Dedicated to Sally Ledger, this book will not be the last reminder of the sad loss of a valued mentor and friend. Furneaux's first book is testimony to the impact of Sally's scholarship and pedagogy on a new generation of Victorian scholars: ueer Dickens is a book of which Sally would have been proud. * Wendy Parkins, Dickens Quarterly *
provides fruitful topics for sensitively historic ways into Dickens that seem to leave him intact and, at the same time, appreciably different * Matthew Inglebym Times Literary Supplement *
an important blueprint for future work * Andrew Elfenbein, New Books Online *
illuminatingly attentive to historical and literary subtleties. Furneaux's methodology is gentler with and more dependent on the texts she considers. * Matthew Ingleby, Times Literary Supplement *
Queer theory as Furneaux develops it seems astonishingly versatile and promising... a major achievement in scholarly terms, and immensely enjoyable * Nicola Bradbury, The Dickensian *
What is especially exciting about Furneaux's account is that it not only at long last brings the body of Dickens's writing within the compass of queer theory, but it suggests a new turn in queer theory itself. * Richard A. Kaye, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies *
Consistently provides thought-provoking and original close readings of non-heterosexual relationships in major and minor Dickens work, all substantially contextualized in social history, * Natalie McKnight, English Studies *
an ambitious and provocative study ... a welcome addition to our scholarly attempts to understand the Victorians and their (which is to say, our) sexualities. * Mark W. Turner, Modern Language Review *