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Queer posthumous writing: a comparative study of E.M.Forster’s 'Maurice' and Umberto Saba’s 'Ernesto'

Ibba, NG; (2015) Queer posthumous writing: a comparative study of E.M.Forster’s 'Maurice' and Umberto Saba’s 'Ernesto'. Doctoral thesis , University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

My thesis is a comparative study of Edward Morgan Forster’s Maurice (written in 1913-14 and published in 1971) and Umberto Saba’s Ernesto (written in 1953, left unfinished and published in 1975). This work aims to propose a reading of queerness in relation to their posthumous publication. Most specifically, I call queer posthumous writing a sub-genre that reflects a specific authorial choice to keep separate the queer text from the rest of the oeuvre. I look at the hybrid space occupied by Saba and Forster – between mainstream literary acclamation and exclusion through queerness – to understand how the two authors negotiate their position. The solution both find is to locate the “unpublishable” novels in the future, thus creating a textual afterlife where oeuvre and queer writing can be reunited. In order to understand this negotiation, I look at how cultural and social discourse on sexuality and queerness were expressed when Forster and Saba were writing. I argue that Maurice is political in trying to present a specific model of the homosexual as an “average” man who is unfairly denied his rights by society and thus needs to find an alternative viable way to exist as a subject. In the same way, I study the Italian context, and I analyse the questione sessuale after the unification (1861) to see where Saba formed his ideas about sexuality and how he renegotiates them in Ernesto, where the focus is not on identity but on sexual activities. Accordingly, this thesis is a comparative analysis of the novels as much as an investigation of the complex historical, social and cultural milieu that produced them. Primarily informed by queer theory, it proposes a reading of the novels and an historical and cultural account of discourses on sexuality that are necessary to contextualise them and their authors.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Queer posthumous writing: a comparative study of E.M.Forster’s 'Maurice' and Umberto Saba’s 'Ernesto'
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1471011
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