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