Queer Corruptions (Panel)

Women's and Gender Studies / Cultural Studies and Media Studies

Brian Hartwig (SUNY Stony Brook University)

Andrew Rimby (SUNY Stony Brook University)

“Queer Corruptions” will examine the theme of queer texts that corrupt characters who encounter them within a narrative. We are looking for papers that explore how a text that is discovered by a character/s in a narrative serves as a queer agent that corrupts the character/s. Consider, for example, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray in which Lord Henry gifts Dorian with a small book bound in yellow cloth that turns out to be Joris-Karl Huysmans’ Á Rebours, a seminal French Decadent novel. It is this book that begins to take hold of Dorian’s psyche and serves as his introduction to queer desire. Dorian then begins to lose the innocence and naivety that Lord Henry so admires at the beginning of the novel, and it is Á Rebours that corrupts and encourages hedonistic behavior in Dorian. This text, embedded within the narrative proper of Wilde’s novel, is one that serves as a queer corrupting agent.

Papers should explore how the text the character discovers acts as one that alters the character’s morals/values, behavior and/or desire and leads to the character transgressing boundaries. This panel will aim to explore intertextual connections that will produce new understandings of the social and cultural histories from which both the “corrupting text” and the text proper emerged. Furthermore, this panel will have implications for considering the significance of repurposing texts for a queer agenda. By employing two literary lenses and queer theory and approaches simultaneously, this panel will advance a new methodological undertaking that has enormous potential for future work in both literary and queer studies.

This panel will expand intertextual studies by considering how one text serves as a corrupting agent for a queer figure in another text. In doing so, this panel has far-reaching implications for social and cultural history, for literary studies, and for queer and feminist studies.