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Queer theory, literature and the politics of sameness
Author: Ben Nichols

In its contributions to the study of material social differences, queer theoretical writing has mostly assumed that any ideas which embody 'difference' are valuable. More than this, where it is invoked in contemporary theory, queerness is often imagined as synonymous with difference itself. This book uncovers an alternative history in queer cultural representation. Through engagement with works from a range of queer literary genres from across the long twentieth century – fin-de-siècle aestheticism, feminist speculative fiction, lesbian middle-brow writing, and the tradition of the stud file – the book elucidates a number of formal and thematic attachments to ideas that have been denigrated in queer theory for their embodiment of sameness: uselessness, normativity, reproduction and reductionism. Exploring attachments to these ideas in queer culture is also the occasion for a broader theoretical intervention: Same Old suggests, counterintuitively, that the aversion they inspire may be of a piece with how homosexuality has been denigrated in the modern West as a misguided orientation towards sameness. Combining queer cultural and literary history, sensitive close readings and detailed genealogies of theoretical concepts, Same Old encourages a fundamental rethinking of some of the defining positions in queer thought.

Open Access (free)
Jonathan Atkin

compelled to kill for many personal reasons, such as duty, fear or comradeship. A small number, of course, refused to be compelled, even after the introduction of conscription in 1916. The history of these conscientious objectors, some of them ‘absolutists’, has been chronicled in detail elsewhere (both individual accounts and collectively). In the case of such active forms of protest in appearing before a public, decision-making tribunal and becoming a conscientious objector, Introduction 7 research has indicated that the majority of documented objectors backed up

in A war of individuals
John McLeod

nationalism often faced two problems: the complicity of national liberation movements in Western myth-making, and the complications caused by the fact that many occupants of colonial lands did not possess a sense of (to use Benedict Anderson’s phrase) ‘deep, horizontal comradeship’ prior to the advent of colonial government. The production of a unified imaginary community can be both nationalism’s greatest strength and its ultimate weakness. Although the myth of the nation might function as a valuable resource in uniting a people in opposition to colonialism, it often does

in Beginning postcolonialism (second edition)
John McLeod

). This is because ‘the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives an image of their communion’ (p. 6). Individuals come to think they are part of a greater collective, that they share a ‘deep, horizontal comradeship’ (p. 7) with many others. In a similar vein Timothy Brennan points out in his essay ‘The National Longing for Form’ (in Nation and Narration , ed. Homi K. Bhabha, Routledge, 1990 , pp. 44–70) that the nation refers ‘both to the modern nation-state and

in Beginning postcolonialism (second edition)
Jonathan Atkin

, ‘no man can be satisfied with the idea that war will be one of the permanent moral agencies of the world’, the rush to arms also possessed a ‘nobler aspect’: that of comradeship, men marching as brothers and ‘the spirit of subordination of the individual to the common life’.13 One of Gilbert Cannan’s principal themes was this threat, as he perceived it, to the role of the individual within the State posed by that state at war, a war waged against other states and also, in effect, on some of its own citizens. He began a chapter in Freedom on ‘The Man in the Street

in A war of individuals
Jonathan Atkin

succumb to the ‘inner blight’, the fear of being afraid which swallowed Bowen. Raven’s difficulties were of a more focused and specific nature; he found the almost entire lack of intellectual or like-minded spiritual comradeship in the army hard to bear, and he longed constantly for letters from home, the bonds with the ‘sweeter and saner’ life he remembered. Meanwhile, his growing hatred of the war was based upon physical hardship and mental exhaustion, but there also existed a friction, as he himself recognised, in spiritual terms. Raven began to see the conflict as a

in A war of individuals
Open Access (free)
Jonathan Atkin

individuals He also thought of the situation in moral terms, wishing that any moral results of the conflict, such as those of comradeship and brotherly love, would outweigh the inevitable material losses, and he found himself frustrated by what he saw as a lack of perception of these potential material losses by the general populace; the holidaying people he observed at Cowes and in the train did not seem to him to see that they were all on the brink of the ‘greatest abyss in history’. Amidst the whirl of patriotic headlines, speeches and calls to arms he wrote sadly from

in A war of individuals
Open Access (free)
Debatable lands and passable boundaries
Aileen Christianson

/female?’ (1996: 196) Anderson, despite seeing nationhood as a socio-cultural concept, a given, like gender: ‘everyone can, should, will “have” a nationality, as he or she “has” a gender’ (1991: 5), nowhere examines the role of gender in nationhood. His national movements are run by men, for men; historically accurate perhaps, but his lack of examination is unimaginative in relation to half of the populations of his imagined communities.3 His view that ‘the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship’ (7) shows that ‘he ignores the significance of gender in

in Across the margins
William Boyd’s comedy of imperial decline
Michael L. Ross

, anomalous solitude, distinct from the other two. There is, however, a force working to mitigate Leafy’s estrangement: the agency Gilroy labels conviviality. Gilroy identifies this force with ‘the processes of cohabitation and interaction that have made multiculture an ordinary feature of social life in Britain’s urban areas’.8 In the Kinjanjan backwater Boyd evokes such cohabitation and interaction are not ordinary. While the ‘good man’ of the novel’s title may suggest bonhomie, comradeship among the British Commission personnel seldom goes beyond perfunctory joviality

in End of empire and the English novel since 1945
Emma Liggins

the political futility of the voteless reformer, I joined the nearest suffrage society’ ( p. 129). The suffragette writer’s reformulation of the female self ‘in opposi­ tion to the political expectations of family, friends and state’57 can be achieved only by treading very carefully around the potentially dangerous excesses of female comradeship. Notwithstanding Joannou’s argument that heterosexuality is not challenged explicitly, but only in the ‘warmth of their friendships and commitment to other women’,58 female friendship is typically given less narrative space

in Odd women?