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What's the Story?

What's the Story?

The Fiction of Romantic Friendship, Part I

Chapter:
(p.11) One What's the Story?
Source:
Manly Love
Author(s):
Axel Nissen
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226586687.003.0002

This chapter focuses on the types of characters who form romantic friendships, the constitutive elements of romantic friendship plots, and the element of homoeroticism in the texts, including the motif of the hand. While modern gay fiction exists mostly in a world apart from mainstream fiction and has its own authors, publishers, and readers, and the price for gaining a minority voice has been a concomitant cultural marginalization, the novels and short stories devoted to “brotherly love” in the second half of the nineteenth century were being written by the period's most influential, respected, and popular authors. If friendship fiction was central to the culture and the literary marketplace during the second half of the nineteenth century, it was no less central to the public discourse on friendship in general.

Keywords:   romantic friendship, homoeroticism, cultural marginalization, gay fiction, literary marketplace, nineteenth century

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