Bradway, Tyler

Nov 26, 2021
PMLA Previous title

This essay contests the antinarrative foundations of queer literary studies. Antinarrativity understands narrative as a conservative form that abets heteronormativity by imposing a coherence and linearity on subjectivity and meaning. By contrast, this essay reframes narrative as a relational form rife with affordances for figuring and sustaining queer bonds. I trace these affordances through contemporary queer kinship narratives, including Paul B. Preciado"s Testo Junkie, Maggie Nelson"s The Argonauts, and Renee Gladman"s Calamities. These texts reveal unexpectedly queer potentials within address, contiguity, closure, and even linearity, which queer theory misses when it defines narrative as inherently teleological and when it locates queerness primarily in transgressive ruptures. This essay discovers queerness instead within mundane and messy attachments that endure across time and space. Queer narrative theory thus emerges in this essay as a relational formalism well suited to debates about the shapes queerness takes now.

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