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Editor: Miles Leeson

This is the first edited collection of essays which focuses on the incest taboo and its literary and cultural presentation from the 1950s to the present day; it considers a number of authors rather than a single author from this period. This study discusses the impact of this change in attitudes on literature and literary adaptations in the latter half of the twentieth century, and early years of the twenty-first century. Although primarily concerned with fiction, the collection includes work on television and film. This collection will enhance the growing academic interest in trauma narratives and taboo-literature, offering a useful contribution to a fast-evolving field of artistic criticism which is concerned with the relationship between social issues and creativity. Authors discussed include Iain Banks, A.S. Byatt, Angela Carter, Simone de Beauvoir, Ted Hughes, Doris Lessing, Ian McEwan Iris Murdoch, Vladimir Nabokov, Andrea Newman and Pier Pasolini and Sylvia Plath.

This book explores representations of queer migrant Muslims in international literature and film from the 1980s to the present. It brings together a variety of contemporary writers and filmmakers of Muslim heritage engaged in vindicating same-sex desire from several Western locations. The book approaches queer Muslims as figures forced to negotiate their identities according to the expectations of the West and of their migrant Muslim communities. It coins the concept of queer micropolitical disorientation via the work of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Sara Ahmed and Gayatri Gopinath. The author argues that depictions of queer Muslims in the West disorganise the social categories that make up contemporary Western societies. The study covers three main themes: queer desire across racial and national borders; Islamic femininities and masculinities; and the queer Muslim self in time and place. These thematic clusters examine the nuances of artistic depictions of queer Muslims’ mundane challenges to Western Islamophobia and Islamicate heteronormativity. Written in a scholarly but accessible style, this is a timely contribution to the controversial topic of Islam and homosexuality, forging understanding about the dissident position of Muslims who contravene heteronormative values and their equivocal political position in the West.

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Miles Leeson and Emma V. Miller

for discussing and investigating cultural identity – but this is not an exhaustive list. Indeed, this collection is interested in the multifarious nature of the depiction of this most sensitive and controversial of taboos within contemporary literature, and how current psychological and sociological debates have informed current artistic practice and fictional poetics. The research in this volume addresses a variety of media and

in Incest in contemporary literature
Narrating incest through ‘différance’ in the work of Angela Carter, A.S. Byatt and Doris Lessing
Emma V. Miller and Miles Leeson

brother perpetrators and younger sister targets’ suggest a ‘double power imbalance (age and gender)’, 13 the glamorisation of the sibling incest bond persists into contemporary literature, even in the writing of authors identified with feminism. By interrogating the central problem of sameness and difference in the symbolic structure of Western culture and how it is expressed through language, this chapter seeks to deconstruct the

in Incest in contemporary literature
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Thinking across
Alberto Fernández Carbajal

these relatively recent minority tendencies within contemporary Islam, the number of people around the world who qualify as Muslim would be very small indeed. The material realities creatively explored by queer artists of Muslim heritage demonstrate otherwise: there are many ways of being Muslim, and many mundane struggles that need to be met in defining one’s identity against the sway of heteropatriarchal hegemonies. The three sections of Queer Muslim Diasporas in Contemporary Literature and Film have systematically examined the distinct

in Queer Muslim diasporas in contemporary literature and film
Adaptation and reception of Andrea Newman’s A Bouquet of Barbed Wire (1969)
Frances Pheasant-Kelly

Engaging with adaptation theory and narrative theory, and relevant contemporaneous critical reviews, this essay textually analyses Newman’s original novel and its television adaptations and considers these in relation to audience reception, as well as to other similarly placed literary adaptations. In analysing the repression of incestuous desire, and the sado-masochistic themes that arise in A Bouquet of Barbed Wire, this chapter also refers to Freudian psychoanalysis, connecting the themes of incestuous desire, and associated guilt-induced masochism to narrative theory in the way that these dual fantasies propel the narrative forward. Finally, this essay comments upon incest as taboo in interpreting audience reception.

in Incest in contemporary literature
The crisis of masculinity in Ian McEwan’s early fiction
Justine Gieni

Ian McEwan’s early fiction delves into the dark drives and desires of ordinary men and women, revealing disturbing realities about the human psyche. McEwan’s psychological probing of deeply disturbed characters reveals how it is often the mundane feelings of inadequacy or failure that compel seemingly ‘normal’ people to commit horrific acts of sexual violence. Within selected short stories in First Love, Last Rites (1975) and In Between the Sheets (1978), and his first novelThe Cement Garden (1978), McEwan horrifies his audience by representing insidious evils that occur through the actions and in the minds of seemingly ordinary men. Reading McEwan’s portrayals of ‘manliness’ is shocking and disturbing not only in his portrayals of rape and incest, but also in the seemingly normal occurrence of sadomasochism, produced and supported by traditional gender relationships.

in Incest in contemporary literature
Remembering incest in A Thousand Acres (1991), Exposure (1993) and Beautiful Kate (2009)
Rebecca White

During the 1990s, such inherent difficulties in recalling and expressing abuse were heightened by the so-called 'Memory Wars', as the Recovered Memory Movement (which advocated the validity of women's rediscovered recollections of trauma) conflicted with the theories of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (which maintained the tendency for (misguided) therapists to implant experiences in their (generally female) patients' minds). Working within this often volatile critical context, Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres (1991) and Kathryn Harrison's Exposure (1993), together with Rachel Ward's film version of Newton Thornburg's Beautiful Kate (2009), embody the tense interplay between the 'real' and the reconstructed that characterises debates about incest and memory. All three texts engage with the ambiguities associated with recounting incest, not least through their status as fictions - as fabrications. Recalling and reworking the very notion of False Memory Syndrome, Smiley and Harrison reclaim and rewrite male-authored stories, implanting them with the perspectives of subjugated daughters.

However, over a decade later, Rachel Ward's Beautiful Kate presents something of a turning point, as this critically-acclaimed film marries explicitness and artistry, and, in doing so, confronts openly the memory of incest.

in Incest in contemporary literature
Narrative, affect and judgement in and across the Lolitas
Matthew Pateman

Through intertext, adaptation, nominative re-births and epiphanies, Lolita (1955) enacts a kind of incestuous narcissism, a self-consuming act of libidinality and linguistic desire that offers a fantasy of self-exculpation and discovery, a narrative of abuse and trauma, and a meta-fiction that revels in the performative perversions its characters suffer from. Each part of the novel is born of an incestuous relationship with an earlier (part of the) text, every subsequent re-statement of Lolita carries this textual-familial weight.

This essay frames an analysis of the novel and its two filmic daughters in the light of these three strands: a realist fantasy of a man’s maniac relationship with a girl who becomes his daughter and sexual partner; his ‘confession’, her distorted trauma tale; the various formal, stylistic, intertextual “incests” that stand in dizzying juxtaposition to the ‘ethical impact’ assigned to it by the pre-facing John Ray Jr.

in Incest in contemporary literature
The representation of incest in children’s literature
Alice Mills

The chapter draws attention to the extreme unspeakability of incest in children's literature and the rarity of texts either literally or symbolically dealing with the topic. It analyses Crew and Scott’s picture story book, In My Father’s Room (2000), in terms of the Bluebeard fairy tale, with close attention to ways of seeing and being seen. This disturbing text (marketed as a book for young children) plays a father’s love for his daughter, manifested in his secret story-writing, against the Bluebeard story of secrecy, multiple sexual partners and murder. The boundaries of the unspeakable in literature for children have changed markedly in the post-war era, particularly in terms of problem novels for a young adult readership; but picture story books for younger readers remain almost uniformly committed to a depiction of the loving nuclear family with mother, father and child or children, where childhood naughtiness is the worst evil that can be encountered; incestuous behaviours by a father are barely mentionable and the incestuous mother unthinkable.

in Incest in contemporary literature