Angus Brown
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The touch of reading in Hollinghurst’s early prose
in Alan Hollinghurst
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Before publishing The Swimming-Pool Library in 1988, the most substantial piece of writing that Alan Hollinghurst had completed was his 1977 Oxford M.Litt thesis. This early academic work is marked throughout by careful reading and a preoccupation with bibliography. This preoccupation grew into an obsession that characterizes the rather readerly eroticism of Hollinghurst’s first novel. Hollinghurst’s formative attention to the book as a student and a novelist offers a rare invitation to revisit both the hermeneutics and materiality of reading through the possibility of touch. Building on recent work in queer studies concerning touch and reading, this chapter presents a speculative blueprint for the queer mechanisms that underpin the structure of The Swimming-Pool Library and the intimacy of reading in Hollinghurst’s early work.

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Alan Hollinghurst

Writing under the influence

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