Radclyffe Hall, E. Lynn Harris, and Franz Kafka: Christianity, Queerness, and the Politics of Normalcy

  • Margaret Soenser BreenEmail author


This essay examines Christian tropes in three queer texts: Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness (1928), E. Lynn Harris's Just As I Am (1994), and Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis (1915). At issue are the linkages between queer theory and literature, on the one hand, and Christian paradigms, on the other hand. This essay considers whether, insofar as they deploy Christian tropes, these texts sustain a politics of the normal that inevitably subvert queer-positive representations.

Radclyffe Hall E. Lynn Harris Franz Kafka Christianity normalcy 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adams, R. (1958). Strains of discord: Studies in literary openness. Ithaca, NewYork: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, M. (1996). Kafka, homosexuality and the Aesthetics of 'male culture'. In R. Robertson & E. Timms (Eds.), Gender and politics in Austrian fiction. Austrian studies VII (pp. 79-99). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Boa, E. (1996). Kafka, gender, class, and race in the letters and fictions. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  4. Breen, M.S. (2000). Desert of the heart: Jane Rule's Puritan outing. In T. Fessenden, N. F. Radel, & M. J. Zabrowska (Eds.), The Puritan origins of American sex (pp. 235-252). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Butler, J. (1993). Bodies that matter: On the discursive limits of "sex." New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Corngold, S. (1972). Introduction. In S. Corngold (Trans. & Ed.), The metamorphosis by F. Kafka (1915) (pp. xi-xxii). New York: Bantam.Google Scholar
  8. Gilman, S. (1995). The Jewish patient. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Glasgow, J. (1997). Rethinking the mythic mannish Radclyffe Hall. In M. Duberman (Ed.), Queer representations: Reading lives, reading cultures (pp. 197-208). New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Glasgow, J. (1990). What's a nice lesbian like you doing in the church of Torquemada? Radclyffe Hall and other Catholic converts. In K. Jay & J. Glasgow (Eds.), Lesbian texts and contexts: Radical revisions. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Halberstam, J. (1998). Female masculinity. Durham, N. C.: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Hall, R. (1928/1930). The well of loneliness. New York: Covici-Friede.Google Scholar
  13. Harris, E. L. (1994). Just as I am. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  14. Harris, E. L. (1997). Online interview (9/23/1997). Scholar
  15. Holland, N. (1958). Realism and unrealism: Kafka's "Metamorphosis." Modern fictions studies 4, 143-150.Google Scholar
  16. James, J. W. (2001). Acceptable homosexual heterosexuality: Hanns Heinz Ewers's Fundvogel and Nationalist Socialist Ideology. International Journal of Sexuality and Gender Studies, 6(3).Google Scholar
  17. Kafka, F. (1976). The diaries, 1910-1923. M. Brod (Ed.); J. Kresh & M. Greenberg with H. Arendt, Trans., New York: Schocken.Google Scholar
  18. Kafka, F. (1915/1972). The metamorphosis. S. Corngold (Trans. & Ed.), New York: Bantam.Google Scholar
  19. Kafka, F. (1990). Tagebücher, H. G. Koch, M. Mueller, M. Pasley (Eds.), Frankfurt: S. Fischer.Google Scholar
  20. Kaiser, H. (1931/1972). Kafka's fantasy of punishment. In S. Corngold (Trans. & Ed), The metamorphosis by F. Kafka (pp. 147-156), New York: Bantam.Google Scholar
  21. Martin, D. & Lyon, P. (1972). Lesbian/woman. New York: Bantam.Google Scholar
  22. Mecke, G. (1982). Franz Kafkas offenbares Geheimnis. Eine Psychopathie. Munich.Google Scholar
  23. Radford, J. (1986). An inverted romance: The well of loneliness and sexual ideology. In J. Radford (Ed.), The progress of romance: The politics of popular fiction. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Ruehl, S. (1982). Inverts and experts: Radclyffe Hall and the lesbian identity. In R. Brunt & C. Rowan (Eds.), Feminism, culture, and politics. London: Lawrence and Wishart.Google Scholar
  25. Rule, J. (1975). Lesbian Images. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  26. Sokel, W. (1995). Kafka and the twentieth century. Journal of the Kafka Society of America. 19(1-2), 4-8.Google Scholar
  27. Sullivan, A. (1995). Virtually normal: An argument about homosexuality. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
  28. Tiefenbrun, R. (1973). Moment of torment: An interpretation ofFranz Kafka's short stories. Carbondale, IL: University of Southern Illinois.Google Scholar
  29. Walker, J. (1994). Armor or fetish?: Corporeal and sartorial armoring in Franz Kafka's Die Verwandlung. Journal of the Kafka society of America. 18(1), 48-57.Google Scholar
  30. Warner, M. (2000). The trouble with normal: Sex, politics, and the ethics of queer life. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  31. Warner, M. (1993/1996). Tongues untied: Memoirs of a Pentecostal boyhood. In D. Morton (Ed.), The material queer: A lesbigay cultural studies reader (pp. 39-45). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  32. White, M. (1994). Stranger at the gate: To be gay and Christian in America. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of ConnecticutGroton

Personalised recommendations