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Paranoia, Panic, and the Queer Weird

  • Brian Johnson
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter complicates readings that use Lovecraft’s stories as evidence of “latent homosexuality,” arguing that the queerness of Lovecraft’s fiction, letters, and criticism is more productively explored at the level of his fraught identification with masculinity. Eve Sedgwick’s theorization of homosexual panic reveals how Lovecraft’s identification with elements of Oscar Wilde’s and Sigmund Freud’s aesthetic theories was accompanied by profound ambivalence and a homophobic rejection of the sexual implication of these authors’ works. Lovecraft’s cautionary tale of Decadent indulgence in “The Hound” and his delibidinizing of Freud’s theory of sublimation in Supernatural Horror in Literature are read in light of his letters as anxious responses to the foundational instability or “queerness” of heteronormative masculinity, responses Lovecraft’s authorial persona and aristocratic, Decadent, and materialist aesthetics of the unconscious exacerbated.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Johnson
    • 1
  1. 1.English Language and LiteratureCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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