chapter  2
18 Pages

Conjugal Capitalism: The Domestication of Public Space

BySally O’Driscoll

The poet Thomas Gray and the gothic novelist Horace Walpole are each unusual in that over the past three centuries they have been almost as categorically marginalized from high culture as honored and recognized within it, hailed as illustrious members of the literary canon in some respects while still shunted to distant outskirts of civil society in others. For the unique liminality of these authors stems largely from the queer personae which they cultivated in literature and life alike personae since construed as abnormal, if not offensive including habitual and unembarrassed expressions of male femininity, or effeminacy, as well as recurrent, albeit less conspicuous, evocations of homoerotic affect and desire. Most importantly, they can better address the blind spots still prevailing in conventional and revisionist approaches to the history of sexuality, especially those that aim to retroactively glamorize, and thereby render masculine, the national past.