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Anxious Flirtations? Homoeroticism, Art and Aestheticism in late Victorian Britain

Edwards, J. (2007) Anxious Flirtations? Homoeroticism, Art and Aestheticism in late Victorian Britain. Visual Culture in Britain, 8 (1). pp. 1-14. ISSN 1471-4787

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Abstract

`Anxious Flirtations7rsquo; introduces the volume's major historiographical contributions. It suggests that the historiography of Victorian sexuality has been largely legal and literary to date, neglecting a range of significant evidence from the histories of art, architecture and visual culture. The essay challenges the idea that historical male homosexuals are best imagined in relation to a Wildean morphology, and suggests that there was a break in British art history around 1860, in which an earlier, familial `Pre-Raphaelite' paradigm was replaced by a more homoerotic `Aesthetic' paradigm. In addition, `Anxious Flirtations' contests the notion that subsequent psychoanalytic accounts of sexual subjectivity are necessarily the best tools of analysis for this period; it challenges the idea that the closet was a master trope at this time, and suggests that the period might be most interesting for the range of identities and experiences that remain on offer other than the sexual. The essay also makes an argument for keeping open the question of whether the evidence of homoeroticism in a work of art or architecture is historical, artefactual or personal, and whether the relation of homoeroticism to concepts such as homo/heterosexuality is best imagined on a horizontal, linear spectrum or as part of a phenomenologically richer, spatialized and idiosyncratic field.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > History of Art (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2009 15:03
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2009 15:03
Status: Published
Publisher: Manchester University Press
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7724

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