Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Gertrude Stein, 1906

Queer Becomings: Woolf, Stein and Modernist Experiments with Time

Instructor: Pearl Brilmyer
The Barnard Center for Research on Women
3009 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

This course explores the role of time and narrative in tales of queer desire. How are queer stories told and what is their relationship to so-called “normative” romantic narratives of marriage, monogamy, and child rearing? What kinds of “queer becomings”—strange combinations of futures, pasts, and presents—are made possible by writers who experiment with temporality, sequence, and pace in narrative? From Virginal Woolf to Gertrude Stein, modernist writers have suggested that temporal and sexual dissonance are deeply intertwined—in other words, that feeling “queer” might have something to do with feeling “out of time.” If queer modernists march to the beat of a different drum, then how do they explore this temporality through their stories? Shaping our inquiry will be Virginia Woolf’s experimental novel To the Lighthouse, Gertrude Stein’s reflections on repetition and portraiture, Radclyffe Hall’s fantastical tale of gender transformation, and recent transgender theory on what it might mean to transition from one gender to another.

Course Schedule

Monday, 7-9pm
November 11 — December 16, 2013
6 weeks