Deviant Modernism: Sexual and Textual Errancy in T. S. by Colleen Lamos

By Colleen Lamos

This unique learn reevaluates vital texts of the modernist canon--Eliot's early poetry together with The Waste Land, Joyce's Ulysses and Proust's Remembrance of items Past--by studying sexual energies and identifications in them which are ordinarily considered as perverse. Colleen Lamos' research of the operations of gender and sexuality in those texts finds conflicts, about the definition of masculine heterosexuality, which reduce around the aesthetics of modernism. What emerges is a reconsideration of modernist literature as a complete, gender different types, and the relation among errant sexuality and literary "mistakes."

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The forces from which poetry springs, according to Eliot, are thus intimately related to the sexual inversion that he condemns. The only passion sanctioned – indeed, highly praised – by Eliot is this special sort of homoerotic ardor by a budding poet for an older, usually dead poet whom he esteems. ”38 Such a “love” Inversion  is “the first step in [his] education,” even if the object of his adolescent infatuation is later discarded. Eliot compares the professional maturation undergone by the ephebe through his relation to the senior poet with the personal transformation undergone by a young lover in his first amorous affair.

We may not be great lovers; but if we had a genuine affair with a real poet of any degree we have acquired a monitor to avert us when we are not in love. (; emphasis Eliot’s) The frankness of Eliot’s description of the “crisis” of the young loverpoet, “seized” by his “imperative intimacy” with the “dead man” about whom he has “secret knowledge” – indeed, whose reputation he can “penetrate” so as to “possess” him as his own special “friend” – more than suggests the homoeroticism, and perhaps even the necrophilism, that binds the younger poet with his dead poetic beloved.

Slight . . The story is limited to [the wife’s] sudden change of feeling, and the moral and social ramifications are outside [its] terms of reference. As the material is limited in this way . . it is what I believe would be called feminine. (ASG ; emphasis Eliot’s) In a word, feminine writing is “limited” to emotions. 18 Writing to Pound ( April ), Eliot complains of the feminization of literary study in American universities, where it is reduced to the contemplation of How to Appreciate the Hundred Best Paintings, the Maiden Aunt and the Social Worker.

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