Work In Progress
Erotic Negativity and the Queer Subject of Victorian Aestheticism
What is the relationship between erotic desire and aesthetic contemplation?Erotic Negativity and Victorian Aestheticism” argues that aesthetes such as Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde, Vernon Lee, and the Michael Field poets exercised the concept of “the negative” to describe the relationship between aesthetic experience and erotic response. Hegel defines negation as an obstacle that paradoxically encourages self-development by disintegrating subjectivity. The moment of sexual self-recognition in art both shatters and radically reconfigures the very structure of consciousness itself, leading not only to increased self-knowledge, but also critical insight into the historical and cultural significance of the aesthetic object.
Selected Conference Presentations
“Teaching Queer Victorian Literature in Singapore.” Northeast Victorian Studies Association Annual Conference. Washington, D.C. April 21-23, 2017.
“Michael Field, Poetic Indifference, and the Sex of Aesthetic Freedom.” Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers Annual Conference. Washington, D.C. October 27-30, 2016.
“Walter Pater, Contradiction, and ‘Moral Sexlessness’.” The Victorians and the Democratic Imagination. Hong Kong. May 13, 2016.
“The Truth in Eros: The Anthropology of Rationality in Walter Pater’s Plato and Platonism.” North American Victorian Studies Association Annual Conference. Honolulu, Hawaii. July 9-12, 2015.
“Forgetting Pederasty in Richard Burton’s ‘Terminal Essay’.” Australasian Victorian Studies Association Annual Conference. Auckland, New Zealand. February 2-5, 2015.
“Doing Victorian Sexuality in Singapore.” Modern Language Association Conference. Vancouver, Canada. January 8-11, 2015.
“‘The inevitable force of individuality’: Sight and Song and the Erotics of Historicism.” Michael Field Centenary Conference. London, UK. July 11-12, 2014.
“Erotic Negativity: Mediating Queer Aesthetics.” Modern Language Association Conference. Boston, Massachusetts. January 3-6, 2013.