Friday, March 1, 2-4 pm: One hour on Mary E. Wilkins Freeman. Emma Thiébaut (LARCA), “Beyond Genus and Genre: the (Nonsense) Politics of Animality in the Life and Works of M.E.W. Freeman,” joint seminar A19 / Mary E. Wilkins Freeman Society (Zoom only)

For decades of her life, the then-very popular author of regionalist fiction Mary E. Wilkins Freeman (1852-1930) lived with a childhood friend, Mary Wales, and quite a few cats. In this paper, I wish to paint a very peculiar family portrait of a queer and interspecies mess. While little remains of what Freeman may have said about Mary Wales, or about her possible romantic affection for other women, the twenty-first century reader can read the love she expressed for cats, most notably in an interview she gave to Helen M. Winslow for the Saint Nicholas magazine in 1900, in her letters to editor Mary Louise Booth, and in two unexpected cat stories, “An Object of Love” (1885), and “The Little Persian Princess’ (1892). These texts, I argue, reveal queer affects by weaving together interspecies love and queer coupling or queer desire, and serving for Freeman as a space of experimentation for the expression and identification of feelings and affective identities. Because little evidence of Freeman’s feelings outside of fiction remains, I will be using what Pamela VanHaitsma has called “gossip methodology”, a tool of critical imagination that she uses in order to make up for the aching void that scholars are often confronted with when researching queer and feminist archives. And of course, this interplay between fiction and non-fiction, this semi-biographical interest, inspired by such studies as those of Melissa J. Homestead, will be furthered and yet also mitigated by an attempt to replace Freeman within late nineteenth-century romantic culture, which will allow me to demonstrate how Freeman’s texts espouse romantic discourse and, at the same time, queer it.
 
 
A19/Freeman Society
March 1 2024 2pm
 
 
Meeting ID: 852 6975 2972
Secret Code: 755713


Citer ce billet
Thomas Constantinesco (2024, 26 février). Friday, March 1, 2-4 pm: One hour on Mary E. Wilkins Freeman. Emma Thiébaut (LARCA), “Beyond Genus and Genre: the (Nonsense) Politics of Animality in the Life and Works of M.E.W. Freeman,” joint seminar A19 / Mary E. Wilkins Freeman Society (Zoom only). A19. Consulté le 21 juin 2024, à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/vwkg

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A propos Thomas Constantinesco

A former student of the École normale supérieure, I hold an agrégation in English. I was appointed as Associate Professor at Université Paris Diderot in 2010 where I teach American Literature and Literary Translation. Before joining Paris Diderot, I also taught at Yale University and Keble College and Magdalen College, Oxford. Between 2014 and 2019, I was a junior research fellow at the Institut universitaire de France. From 2019 to 2021, I will be a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow in the English Faculty at the University of Oxford.

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