Queer antiracism and the forgotten fiction of Murrell Edmunds, a Southern ‘Revolutionary'

Michael Bibler

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Born to an aristocratic Virginia family, Murrell Edmunds (1898–1981) devoted his life to writing books that explicitly challenged the South's racial, sexual, and economic inequalities, yet his name is virtually nonexistent in the pages of literary history and criticism. Examining his novels Sojourn among Shadows (1936) and Time's Laughter in Their Ears (1946), this essay shows how Edmunds portrayed homoerotic intimacy between men as a queer force that turns alienation into a "useable affect" capable of fostering identifications among all oppressed people and thus impelling a liberal critique of the South's coercive mechanisms of categorization and exclusion. In addition to expanding modernist, Southern, and gay literary canons, Edmunds's work reveals new ways to understand the larger ideological connections between queerness, liberalism, and civil rights.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-316
JournalPhilological Quarterly
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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