Languages and Literature, University of Birmingham
The principal focus of my thesis is the queer soul in the nineteenth century, as I investigate the ways in which a particular group of male Victorian poets and artists used varying iterations and images of the soul to explore queer self-construction. Across several decades, such figures produced literary and artistic works that foregrounded the soul as a means of examining the intricacies of sexual selfhood.
The writers and artists considered in my research project reimagined – or queered – the familiar motif of the soul in Victorian poetry, in an attempt to comprehend non-heterosexual male identities prior to the emergence of a widespread cultural understanding of sexuality. Experimenting with the (dis)embodied soul, the gendered soul, and the erotic potential of the soul, such figures identified (or contributed to the formation of) a mode through which queer men imagined and expressed themselves throughout the nineteenth century.