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Visions of Queer Martyrdom from John Henry Newman to Derek Jarman$
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Dominic Janes

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226250618

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226250755.001.0001

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The Bitter Tears of John Henry Newman

The Bitter Tears of John Henry Newman

(p.1) One The Bitter Tears of John Henry Newman
Visions of Queer Martyrdom from John Henry Newman to Derek Jarman

Dominic Janes

University of Chicago Press

This chapter begins by recounting an image of John Henry - Cardinal - Newman crying that was inserted by Lytton Strachey in the first section of his extraordinarily successfully Eminent Victorians of 1918. Newman is shown to have been powerfully associated by Strachey, and by others before him, with both a life of privations and of same-sex desires. It is explained that this book is not about finding the ‘truth’ of sexual lives in the past, but about examining the ways in which queerness came to be depicted as a state of suffering in ecclesiastical contexts. This involves, on the one hand, taking seriously Catholic traditions of the moral value of suffering but also appreciating some of the ways in which the figure of the unmarried priest could appear as queer in the context of a society dominated by expectations of marriage. The Catholic revival in Britain during the nineteenth century is thus seen in this introductory chapter as also bearing within it huge potential for the development of queerly alternative lifestyles in which celibacy as a state of privation and the idolization of martyrdom blended with what later-nineteenth century sexology was to refer to as masochism.

Keywords:   John Henry Newman, Lytton Strachey, martyrdom, masochism, celibacy

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