The Victorians elevated the home and heteronormative family life to an almost secular religion. Yet alongside the middle-class domestic ideal were other families, many of which existed in the literature of the time. Queer Victorian Families: Curious Relations in Literature is chiefly concerned with these atypical or "queer" families. This collection serves as a corrective against limited definitions of family and is a timely addition to Victorian studies. Interdisciplinary in nature, the collection opens up new possibilities for uncovering submerged, marginalized, and alternative stories in Victorian literature. Broad in scope, subjects range from Count Fosco and his animal "children" in Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, to male kinship within and across Alfred Tennyson’s In Memoriam and Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, and the nexus between disability and loving relationships in the fiction of Dinah Mulock Craik and Charlotte M. Yonge. Queer Victorian Families is a wide-ranging and theoretically adventurous exposé of the curious relations in the literary family tree.
Table of Contents
Foreword Claudia Nelson Introduction Duc Dau and Shale Preston Part 1: Queervolutions 1. The "Queer-Looking Party" Challenge to Family in Alice Laura White 2. Esther Summerson's Estate: The Queer, Quasi-Monarchical Line of Beauty, Family, and Inheritance in Bleak House Shale Preston 3. Michael Field’s Dramatically Queer Family Dynamics Tracy Olverson 4. William Sharp's Neo-Paganism: Queer Identity and the National Family Michael Shaw Part 2: Queer Actually 5. A "Strange Family Story": Count Fosco, His Animal Children, and the "Safe" Patriarch in Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White Monica Flegel 6. "The right and natural law of things": Disability and the Form of the Family in the Fiction of Dinah Mulock Craik and Charlotte M. Yonge Clare Walker Gore 7. Two Girls in Love: Romantic Friendship and the Queer Family in Elizabeth Anna Hart’s The Runaway Ellen Brinks Part 3: Queer Connections 8. Reading on the Contrary: Cousin Marriage, Mansfield Park, and Wuthering Heights Talia Schaffer 9. The Queer, Statistical Kinship of Tennyson and Melville Alec Magnet 10. The Victorian Family in Queer Time: Secrets, Sisters, and Lovers in The Woman in White and Fingersmith Lauren N. Hoffer and Sarah E. Kersh
Duc Dau is an ARC Discovery Early Career Research Fellow in English and Cultural Studies at the University of Western Australia, Australia.
Shale Preston is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of English at Macquarie University, Australia.