This chapter reads Alan Hollinghurst's translations of Jean Racine (1639-1699), with particular emphasis on his 1990 translation of Racine's Bajazet (1672). It connects Hollinghurst's translations of this violent and anomalous tragedy with a range of artistic and theoretical work all from about 1990: Tony Kushner's translation of Corneille, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's use of Racine to develop her theory of the closet and Derek Jarman's Racinian-inflected film adaptation of Marlowe's Edward II, among others. Situating Hollinghurst's Racine in this cluster of works makes him part of a cultural energy that can only be read as a deeply skeptical response to Francis Fukuyama’s 1989 declaration of 'the end of history'. Exploring the interplay between the specifics of Hollinghurst's translation and current theoretical work on queer temporality and theatrical time, the essay also connects Hollnghurst's Bajazet to the particularly intense phase of the AIDS epidemic with which it coincided and to cultural responses thereto.
Focusing through the concept of influence, this collection considers the entire breadth of Alan Hollinghurst’s Booker Prize-winning writing. It addresses critical issues threaded through the work of Britain’s most important contemporary novelist. Chapters encompass provocative and timely subjects ranging from gay visual cultures and representations, to Victorian, modernist and contemporary literature, as well as race and empire, theatre and cinema, eros, translation and economics. Revealing the often troubled tissue of weighty affect that lies beneath the poise and control of Hollinghurst’s writing, this book addresses readers interested in question of subjectivity, history and desire, as well as those curious about biography and literary experimentation. Alongside contributions by distinguished international critics, the book includes an unpublished interview with Hollinghurst and the eminent biographer Hermione Lee. With critical energy and creative flair, Alan Hollinghurst: Writing Under the Influence provokes a new account of Hollinghurst’s work that is both authoritative and innovative.
Written in the form of a dialogue between editors Michele Mendelssohn and Denis Flannery, this introduction explores the book's principles and summarises its specific chapters. Emphasising the extent to which the collection is a historically-tessellated exploration of the breadth of Hollinghurst's output, it explores the varied ways in which he is in dialogue with his various influences. For the writers in this collection, a sense of 'influence' emerges that is, while genial and accepting, also not devoid of antagonism and shadow. The extent to which susceptibility to influence can be read as a form of intoxication as well as a world-making state of primal vulnerability is also emphasised. The introduction stresses the extent to which Hollinghurst breaks new ground even as he prowls the precincts of well-established literary traditions. These traditions extend beyond the novel and encompass poetry, translation and theatre in his oeuvre which is also, the book also emphasises, richly in dialogue with cinema as a cultural force and with recent developments in critical theory.