Libidinal Currents, Sexuality and the Shaping of Modernism

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From Kate Chopin and Virginia Woolf to William Faulkner and Doris Lessing, modern fiction surges with libidinal currents. The most powerful of these fictions are not merely about sex; rather, they attempt to incorporate the workings of eros into their narrative forms. In doing so, Joseph Allen Boone argues, these modern fictions of sexuality create a politics and poetics of the perverse with the power to transform how we think about and read modernism. Challenging overarching theories of the novel by carefully mapping the historical contexts that have influenced modern experimental narratives, Boone constructs a model for interpreting sexuality that reaches from Freud’s theory of the libidinal instincts to Foucault’s theory of sexual discourse. The most ambitious study yet written on the links between literary modernity and the psychology of sex, Boone’s Libidinal Currents will be a landmark book in the study of modernist fiction, gay studies/queer theory, feminist criticism, and studies in sexuality and gender.

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