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Frederick D. King, Queer Books of Late Victorian Print Culture

Queer Books of Late Victorian Print Culture

Frederick D. King

Brings together queer theory and textual studies to revise our understanding of nineteenth-century print culture.

  • Examines the collaboration of queer writers and artists: Aubrey Beardsley, Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper (Michael Field), John Gray, Charles Ricketts, Charles Shannon, and Oscar Wilde are central figures of concern
  • Brings together important criticism from the fields of Victorian studies, queer theory, and Textual studies (postmodern approaches to bibliography, archives, etc)
  • Revises our conception of nineteenth-century print culture through both popular printing as well as the beautiful work of William Morris at the Kelmscott Press to differentiate heteronormative experiences from the queer book
  • Focuses on queer lives, their influence on book history and their contributions to the Revival of Printing, serving as a reassessment of print culture outside of heteronormative boundaries
  • Based on primary research that examined, in addition to the books being studied by accounting ledgers, correspondence, diaries, and contemporary criticism from the late-Victorian age

Queer books, like LGBTQ+ people, adapt heteronormative structures and institutions to introduce space for discourses of queer desire. Queer Books of Late-Victorian Print Culture explores print culture adaptations of the material book, examining the works of Aubrey Beardsley, Michael Field, John Gray, Charles Ricketts, Charles Shannon and Oscar Wilde. It closely analyses the material book, including the elements of binding, typography, paper, ink and illustration, and brings textual studies and queer theory into conversation with literary experiments in free verse, fairy tales and symbolist drama. King argues that queer authors and artists revised the Revival of Printing’s ideals for their own diverse and unique desires, adapting new technological innovations in print culture. Their books created a community of like-minded aesthetes who challenged legal and representational discourses of same-sex desire with one of aesthetic sensuality.

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