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Reading: Self-Made Monsters: Agency, Monstrosity, and Queerness in Poppy Z. Brite’s Gothic Horror

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Self-Made Monsters: Agency, Monstrosity, and Queerness in Poppy Z. Brite’s Gothic Horror

Author:

Evan Hayles Gledhill

University of Reading, GB
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Abstract

Poppy Z. Brite’s gothic horror fiction is chiefly populated by the odd, the excluded, the queer. This article explores the relationships between queerness, normativity, and the body in Brite’s gothic fictions through Adrienne Rich’s concept of “compulsory heterosexuality” and Robert McRure and Alison Kafer’s extensions of this analysis into “compulsory ablebodiedness.” In Brite’s gothic tales queerness is often aligned with physical anomaly - both naturally occurring such as albinism, and preternatural such as a vampires’ fangs. Those most likely to come to harm, or cause harm, are those who seek to enforce their standards upon others, perhaps to normalize the abnormal body, or demand access to a queer space. Brite not only acknowledges the social dynamics identified by McRuer and Kafer, but also celebrates their potential. The monster is not a monster because of what they are, but because of what they do and how they do it, and often because of what has been done to them.

How to Cite: Hayles Gledhill, E., 2019. Self-Made Monsters: Agency, Monstrosity, and Queerness in Poppy Z. Brite’s Gothic Horror. Studies in Gothic Fiction, 6(1), pp.30–41. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18573/sgf.17
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Published on 20 Jan 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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