Abstract

ABSTRACT:

At the end of his biography, Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson (1934), E. M. Forster claims that he has not fulfilled the task of producing a work that 'would resemble' his deceased friend: 'And perhaps it only could be done through music.' More than simply a metaphor for the modern self in a newly conceptualized form of biographical writing, music, this article argues, plays a significant role in the biography's representation of Dickinson's homosexuality. It proposes that Forster's references to actual music, especially to Beethoven's 'Moonlight' Sonata, endow the biography with a queer subtext, thus both saying and unsaying Dickinson's homosexual desire. In so doing, the article aims to broaden the recent musical-literary discussion of music, sexuality, and words by focusing on a text that has not received its due critical attention. It also seeks to contribute to current life-writing studies by highlighting the presence of music in modernist engagement with different forms of writing lives.

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