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The Literary Afterlives of Roger Casement, 1899-2016$
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Alison Garden

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621815

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621815.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 27 January 2022

The Black Diaries

The Black Diaries

Sex, race and empire in The Dream of the Celt, The Swimming-Pool Library and The Lost World

(p.51) Chapter Two The Black Diaries
The Literary Afterlives of Roger Casement, 1899-2016

Alison Garden


The chapter explores Casement’s Black Diaries, and their reception, through a discussion of three novels: Conan Doyle’s The Lost World (1912), Alan Hollinghurst’s The Swimming-Pool Library (1988) and Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Dream of the Celt (2010). In a move that embodies the homophobia that has so often plagued Casement’s posthumous life, Vargas Llosa depicts Casement’s Diaries as little more than the fantasies of someone deeply ashamed of their sexual taste. In The Swimming-Pool Library, Hollinghurst is able to stage the uneven power dynamics that defined Casement’s sexual encounters while also illustrating the erotic thrill offered by racial difference, contextualised through a genealogy of queer desire. Finally, the chapter concludes by engaging the Black Diaries alongside Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, which features settings and a character inspired by Casement, and explicating the novella’s insistence on the erotic quality of racial difference while also highlighting the underlying queer energy inherent to the imperial romance of the Boy’s Book.

Keywords:   Arthur Conan Doyle, The Lost World, Alan Hollinghurst, The Swimming Pool Library, Mario Vargas Llosa, The Dream of the Celt, The Black Diaries, Imperial literature, Literature and sexuality, Queer Studies

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