Abstract

This essay discloses some of the more productive theoretical and methodological issues raised for textual studies by examining the particular instance of preparing a new, annotated edition of Henry Blake Fuller's gay-themed novel, Bertram Cope's Year (1919). Specifically, the essay demonstrates how revising Fuller's novel, especially in the advent of discovering fresh archival materials related to the text, discloses the extent to which the aura of academic disinterest assumed to guide and authenticate such editions is immersed in a varied range of internalized habits of professionalized reading, interpretative gestures, and repressed motivations. As a result, I argue that reconceiving the relationship between textual editing and interpretation as a dialectical process can help us gauge the influence of collectively repressed biases underlying our disciplinary practices. In bringing out a new edition of a relatively obscure novel that features "normalized" homosexual characters, such biases not only become more acutely apparent, but also point the way to a critique of the academic discourse of queer studies itself. In many ways Fuller's novel resists, at the same time it attracts, the discursive pressure of queer historicism to lay claim to the text as something more closeted, more partial, more abnormal than it is. The essay concludes that the case of Bertram Cope's Year is simultaneously a revisionary case of the goals and practices of queer studies itself.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1933-7418
Print ISSN
1559-2936
Pages
pp. 136-154
Launched on MUSE
2008-11-11
Open Access
No
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