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This highly original book reconsiders canonical long eighteenth-century narratives through the conjoined lenses of queer studies and the environmental humanities. Moving from Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels to Gothic novels including Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Jeremy Chow investigates the role that bodies of water play in reading these central texts.
Chow navigates various representations and phases of water to magnify the element's furtive yet pronounced effects on narrative, theory, and identity. Water, Chow reveals, is both a participant and a stage upon which bodily violation manifests. The sea, rivers, pools, streams, and glaciers all participate in a violent decolonialism that fractures, revises, and reshapes notions of colonial masculinity emerging throughout the long eighteenth century.
Through an innovative series of intermezzi, The Queerness of Water also traces the afterlives of eighteenth-century literature in late twentienth- and twenty-first-century film, television, and other popular media, opening up conversations regarding canon, literary criticism, pedagogy, and climate change.