Queering Intimacy In Written On The Body

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Elena Storelli (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Jill Ehnenn

Abstract: Much scholarship has been devoted to determining the gender of the narrator in Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body. The novel has been claimed by many as a fundamentally lesbian text, an ode to lesbian intimacy and aesthetics. However, I believe attempting to pin down the narrator’s gender and labeling them with an overdetermined identity such as ‘lesbian’ works against the novel’s troubling of categorization and singularity. The fragmented, postmodern structure of the novel itself challenges singularity in the creation of nonlinear time as the narrative alternates between the progression of the narrator’s relationship with Louise and the narrator’s meditations on past relationships. Further, the trouble is especially evident in the novel’s critique of the narrator’s construction of Louise, her body, and her disease, explicitly communicated through the narrator’s conversations with Gail Right. While Louise’s cancer functions as what David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder call “narrative prosthesis,” that Gail problematizes the narrator’s idealized objectification of Louise suggests a deeper engagement with systems of power as they shape intimate relationships. In this paper, I will analyze the ways in which the narrator’s ultimate reckoning with their complicity in dominant and dominating systems of power in the context of their relationship with Louise opens up the possibility of resisting such systems and rearranging power relations by imagining and performing new, affective, queer intimacies.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Storelli, E. (2020). Queering Intimacy In Written On The Body. Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2020
lesbian, Written on the Body, Jeanette Winterson, queer

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