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Misreading Anita BrooknerAestheticism, Intertextuality and the Queer Nineteenth Century$
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Peta Mayer

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620597

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620597.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Misreading Anita Brookner

Peta Mayer

Liverpool University Press

This chapter establishes connections between Brookner’s novels A Friend from England (1987), A Misalliance (1986), Brief Lives (1990), Undue Influence (1998), Falling Slowly (1999) and Hotel du Lac (1984); her French Romantic art criticism in The Genius of the Future, Romanticism and its Discontents and Soundings; andthe queer nineteenth-century literary canon of the Romantics, Decadents and aesthetes including Stendhal, Baudelaire, Henry James, Oscar Wilde and Karl-Joris Huysmans. It outlines the strange behaviour of the solitary yet homosocial ‘Brooknerine’ and her female friendships in the domestic fiction, and the mixed responses of Brookner’s early reception from 1980-2010 frequently organised by gender, temporal and heterosexual normativity which tethers behaviour to a unilateral historical context. Alternatively, Brookner’s performative Romanticism is delineated as a queer cross-historical, intertextual, temporal literary practice which combines nineteenth-century and contemporary behaviours, tropes, narrative devices and temporal periods to expand historical context and subject to cross gender and historical temporalities. The book’s queer lesbian, intertextual, cross-historical methodology is illuminated, along with its performing cast of Romantic personae of the military man, analysand, queer, aesthete, dandy, flâneur, degenerate and storyteller.

Keywords:   Anita Brookner, Brooknerine, Performative Romanticism, Gender performativity, Intertextuality, Queer theory, Reception studies, Queer nineteenth century, Homosocial, Female friendship

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