Bricks and Flowers
Unconventionality and queerness in Katherine Everett’s life writing
in British queer history
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Katherine Everett's 1949 memoir, Bricks and Flowers, narrates a remarkable life. Born into the Anglo-Irish gentry in the 1870s, Everett escaped an abusive mother by moving to Britain as a teenager. This chapter provides a key to understanding a life like Everett's, which seems simultaneously to invite and to resist a queer reading. It argues that it is possible to arrive at a richer understanding of life outside the conventions of heteronormativity and, perhaps, of homonormativity as well. The chapter describes queer critical history in Everett's life-writing, of the strange-to-us category of unconventionality. Homosexuality, or the possibility of it, appears only in muted and intermittent ways in Bricks and Flowers. For Everett, however, the war put a temporary break in her unconventional career as a builder and pushed her towards more typical means of earning a living for a woman: nursing and working as a personal companion.

British queer history

New approaches and perspectives

Editor: Brian Lewis

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