The first chapter in Part III deals with Abdellah Taïa’s autofictional work:
his short fiction collections Mon Maroc and Le rouge du
tarbouche, and his novels Salvation Army and An Arab
Melancholia, with due reference to Taïa’s debut film, Salvation
Army. This chapter firstly explores Taïa’s chosen genre and its
articulation of embodiment. It then links the writing of the self to Taïa’s
postcolonial queer melancholia, conceptualised in dialogue with Jean
Starobinski’s notion of l’errance – errancy – which performs an
assemblage of temporalities validating his position as a gay, Moroccan,
Muslim, Arab man. It is argued Moroccan society’s homophobia triggers
religious doubt in Taïa’s autofictional self, and a desperate embrace of
matrilineal and Sufi versions of Islam is posited at a remove from Islamist
Sunni literalness. The chapter also analyses Taïa's critique of
colonial social hierarchies in contemporary Western sexual tourism. It is
suggested Taïa’s most hopeful episode of homoerotic connection is enacted in
the representation of queer diasporas, where same-sex desire articulated in
transit temporarily dissolves man-made geographical and personal borders.
Finally, it is proposed that Taïa’s articulation of the legacies of pre- and
Islamic poetry inscribes his queer sensibility within the long continuum of
Arab cultural history.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book demonstrates that incest was representative of a range of interests crucial to writers of the Gothic, often women or homosexual men who adopted a critical stance in relation to the heteronormative patriarchal world. Incest, a sexual act associated with transgression, violations of power and violence, has readily been conflated with sexual violence in Gothic scholarship and consigned to one of two gendered plots. Sexuality, questions of ownership, inheritance, women's subjugation to male authority, laws of coverture and primogeniture and issues concerning gender roles pervade Gothic works from the mid-eighteenth century on. The incest thematic as employed by women writers in the early modern period is shown to be transgressively endogamic in Maureen Quilligan's excellent work on incest in Elizabethan England.
There are several problems that usually emerge in scholarship examining representations of father-daughter incest in the Gothic, even in works by scholars whose goal is to lay bare the feminist themes that are central to the genre. Principal among these is that representations of father-daughter incest often cause works to be placed in the gendered subgenre of Female Gothic and to be viewed through a lens predicated on this generic division. This chapter examines the incestuous relationships between fathers and daughters in Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, Ann Radcliffe's The Romance of the Forest and Mary Shelley's Matilda and the texts' attendant scholarship. These three works have been selected in order to compare the way that incest is rendered in a representative chronology of Gothic texts beginning with what has been traditionally defined as the original Gothic novel.