Chapter 9. The queer self and the snares of heteronormativity

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This paper focuses on queer subjects as heteronormativity’s marginalized others and the consequences of this subject position for autobiographical structures and queer concepts of time. My literary examples are Quentin Crisp’s life writings, notably his autobiography The Naked Civil Servant, and with the help of Judith Butler’s theory of subject formation as well as recent queer theories on negativity and failure (Lee Edelman, Judith Halberstam), I show how Crisp expressly inhabits the position of the abject, of negativity, and develops a lifestyle of failure, which he is able to turn into a success later in his life.


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