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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 Storyteller Returns: Hotel du Lac (1984)

The Storyteller Returns: Hotel du Lac (1984)

(p.224) Epilogue The Storyteller Returns: Hotel du Lac (1984)
Misreading Anita Brookner

Peta Mayer

Liverpool University Press

The epilogue reads Hotel du Lac through the figure of the storyteller, which it links to the genius woman writer, and argues that Brookner’s Booker Prize winner proleptically anticipates her aestheticist emphasis on beauty, form and technique. Utilising Walter Benjamin’s essay on the storyteller, and iconic figures of Staël, Colette, Woolf and Proust, the storyteller is produced through narratives of exile and return and focuses on the craft of the writer and artist persona including misreading, reversal, orality, frame narrative, epistolary form, paraprosdokian and anagnorisis. Colette’s The Pure and the Impure helps contextualise Edith’s scopophilic fascination with the mother/daughter pairing of Iris and Jennifer Pusey, which symptomise as a homoerotic narrative excess in the unsent letters to her lover. Edith’s queer preoccupations further illuminate the satirical treatement of gender, love, marriage and the heterosexual romance narrative in Hotel du Lac and more broadly in Brookner’s oeuvre. Like most Brooknerines, Edith rejects conventional romance for the romance of art and women’s writing. In conclusion, this chapter reviews the cross-historical intertextual performance of creative male gender through the contemporary female subject which sanctions a host of queer possibilities between female characters and plotlines. It celebrates Brookner as consummate aesthete, artist and storyteller.

Keywords:   Booker Prize, Storyteller, Epistolary, Colette, Heterosexual romance narrative, Mother/daughter, Walter Benjamin, Woman writer, Exile, Narrative of return

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