The palimpsestuous face of the other : homoerotic memory in Alan Hollinghurst's The Stranger's Child

Author: Yerba, José M.
Source document: Brno studies in English. 2019, vol. 45, iss. 1, pp. [211]-227
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
License: Not specified license
This paper contends that Alan Hollinghurst's The Stranger's Child (2011) revises Sarah Dillon's renegotiation of De Quincey's "palimpsest" and Emmanuel Lévinas's "Face of the Other" to deal with the working of (homoerotic) memory. In joining the palimpsest and the Face of the Other as metaphors of the invocation and resurrection of Cecil Valance − the hero and tutelary spirit of the novel − I argue that the politics of remembrance and representation in The Stranger's Child shift, and change us as readers as well. From being a closeted gay WWI poet to becoming an early-twenty-first-century relic, Valance works as a "palimpsestuous face" that returns our gaze and forces us to renegotiate our relation with the past and the Other.
  • The author would like to acknowledge the support of the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (MINECO) and the European Regional Development Fund (DGI/ERDF) (code FFI2017-84258-P), and the Government of Aragón and the European Social Fund (ESF) (code H03_17R), for the writing of this essay.
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