Unexpected Pleasures

BookUnexpected Pleasures

Unexpected Pleasures

Parody, Queerness, and Genre in 20th-century British Fiction

Clemson University Press


January 15th, 2022



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What are the sources—and the effects—of the pleasurable feeling of power that genre gives us? What happens to that power when conventionality tips into parody? In this book, Lauryl Tucker explores the connection between genre parody and queerness in twentieth-century British fiction. Teasing out the parodic sensibility of writers including Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bowen, Sam Selvon, Dorothy Sayers, Stella Gibbons, and Zadie Smith, Unexpected Pleasures offers an innovative reading of works that seem to excessively obey the rules of genre. By oversupplying the pleasurable sense of knowledge and the illusion of predictive power that genre confers, these works play with readerly expectation in order to expose and queer a broader set of assumptions about desire, resolution, and futurity. Unexpected Pleasures expands on a burgeoning critical interest in genre as an interpretive tool, and further diversifies the archive and methodology of queer critique. Gathering a surprising group of writers together, it reveals new throughlines between middlebrow and highbrow, and among modernist, mid-century, and contemporary literature. This book will interest scholars of modernist and contemporary British literature, as well as readers interested in narrative and queer theory.


Author Information

Lauryl Tucker is an Associate Professor of English at The University of the South. In addition to teaching courses in 20th- and 21st-century British and Irish literature. Her scholarship focuses on the intersection between gender and parody, and she has published articles on Woolf, Stevie Smith, and Dorothy Sayers in LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory, Twentieth Century Literature, and Feminist Modernist Studies (respectively). She contributes to the University of Venus Blog at Inside Higher Ed, and is currently working on a contribution about academic satire for a volume on #MeToo Modernism.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
Writing Lives
1. “By
himself, reading, a naked man”: Orlando and the Dutiful
2. “By the human clock”: Signs of Good Reading in Flush
Gothic Encounters
3. Epistemology of the Woodshed: Stella Gibbons’s Gothic
            Part Two
Gothic Encounters, redux
4. Queer Gothic Strategies in Bowen’s Short Fiction
Arrivals and Departures
5. “That type of fellar”: Desire and Mimicry in Sam
Selvon’s Early London Fiction
6. Evolutionary Generics: Miraculous Conventions in Zadie
Smith’s White Teeth
Disciplinary Fictions
7. “Things made in the shape of things”: Dorothy Sayers’s
Queer Detection
8. “Is this where the narratee sits?”: Campus Novels and