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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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The Military Man, the Analysand, and the Queer in A Friend from England (1987)

The Military Man, the Analysand, and the Queer in A Friend from England (1987)

(p.33) Chapter One The Military Man, the Analysand, and the Queer in A Friend from England (1987)
Misreading Anita Brookner

Peta Mayer

Liverpool University Press

This chapter takes key discourses of Romantic masculinity to reimagine the relationship between female friends in A Friend from England (1987) and excavates three queer nineteenth-century narratives from the text. Based on an intertextual reading of Stendhal’s Scarlet and Black, Life of Henri Brulard and On Love, the figure of the military man is produced through behaviours of energy, passion, risk, duty, strategy, romantic love, obstacles, failure, experience and innocence. The performance of the military man is staged across the adventure narrative and the rhetorical figure of hendiadys to represent protagonist Rachel Kennedy’s cross-historical lesbian desire for Heather Livingstone. Rachel’s hydrophobia brings to light a network of psychoanalytic narrative associations and homiologia (inane repetition) arcing over Freud’s ‘Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria’ (‘Dora’) and Brookner’s novel. The figure of the analysand is sketched to emphasise a second historical formation of lesbian desire in A Friend from England. For the performance of the queer, Henry James’s The Beast in the Jungle and Oscar Wilde’s The Portrait of Dorian Gray are recruited to read Rachel’s characterisation of Michael Sandberg through the rhetorical device of preterition and the narrative of the secret.

Keywords:   A Friend from England, military man, analysand, queer, adventure narrative, hendiadys, homiologia, preterition, repetition, cross-historical desire

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