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Literary Criticism Gay & Lesbian

Queer Atlantic

Masculinity, Mobility, and the Emergence of Modernist Form

by (author) Daniel Hannah

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Jan 2021
Gay & Lesbian, 19th Century
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2021
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  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2021
    List Price

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The instability of modernist form has everything to do with the social, political, and economic shakeups of the nineteenth century that left masculinity a site of contestation, racial anxiety, homophobic paranoia, performative display, and queer desire. Refusing to take white masculinity for granted, Daniel Hannah considers how the canonical novels of modernist fiction explore the ways that privilege is propped up and driven by factors of race, place, gender, and sexuality.

Queer Atlantic examines the work of established writers – Herman Melville, Robert Louis Stevenson, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, and Ford Madox Ford – to reveal that anxieties surrounding white, masculine privilege and queer potential helped broaden the novel's formal possibilities. Demonstrating how masculine mobility, and often specifically transatlantic mobility, both enacts and queerly disorients male privilege, Hannah places these writers in the context of debates about naval impressment, piracy, emigration, colonization, and the "new imperialism." In the process he raises important questions about the current field of queer ethics, highlighting the strange companionship of queer openness to otherness and imperialist thought in modernist writing.

Arguing for the surprising resilience of such fictional structures, Queer Atlantic provides a new understanding of modernism's emergence from a troubling of masculine privilege, mobility, and desire.

About the author

Daniel Hannah is associate professor of English at Lakehead University.

Daniel Hannah's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"The author does well in broadening the reader's understanding of inequality and addresses key concerns. A valuable contribution to the literature on queerness, masculinity, and gender broadly. Highly recommended." Choice

"Focused, well-written, and ambitious in its inclusion of writers ranging from Melville to Ford, Queer Atlantic makes original and important contributions to the fields of modernist studies, queer theory, masculinity studies, and transatlantic literary studies." Benjamin Bateman, University of Edinburgh and author of The Modernist Art of Queer Survival