Arthur and Kevin's Nellorat (nellorat) wrote,

Call for Input: Poly--Overt, Covert, and Rejected--in Fantastic Literature

My next academic project will be a queer-theory type analysis of some fantastic literature (science fiction, fantasy, supernatural horror--recent and historical) in terms of multiple partnerships, an issue that is as almost-invisible in academic analysis as in society as a whole.

The example I always give is Stoker's Dracula, in which Dracula refers to the three female vampires as his "brides" and Mina jokes about marrying all of her suitors. I haven't come up with a useful new way to view the novel based on this, but it can me used to shore up many other interpretations: the Orientalist association of Dracula with the heathen East (place of scandalous sex in seraglios), Dracula's evil and its parodic relationship to the good, fear of the powerful "new woman" seen in the novel, fear of and tantalizing attraction to immoral/non-normative sex. I've read a lot of Dracula criticism, and no one seems to have picked this ripe, low-hanging fruit!

Also, like Eve Sedgewick--in goal, though not in ability!--I want to look at books in which poly-love is displaced onto nonsexual relationships or monogamous relationships (the equivalent of what Sedgewick calls "homosocial" themes). Sedgewick views some men-battling-over-same-woman plots as essentially displaced erotic energy of the male characters for each other, and I agree, but I think that pattern can also be a function of displaced communal/symbiotic/compersion poly desire. I'm looking at other works in which a menage of more than two is considered and rejected in terms of how they defines the limits of hetero-monogamous norms. (And I especially want to re-watch the 1959 movie The World, the Flesh, and the Devil to see if I can analyze it in one or both of these ways.)

Finally, I am interested in fantastic works that do display poly relationships and/or societies in which they are considered acceptable; it's actually a lower priority, but I do want to try to read them all.

I appreciate help, tips, thoughts!

X-posted to polyamory comm

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