Tantalizing idylls: Nature and unattainable pleasures in Gay and Lesbian literature
Journal article, Peer reviewed
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionScandinavian Studies. 2017, 89 (3), 326-350. 10.5406/scanstud.89.3.0326
This article presents comparative readings of works of fiction depicting homosexuality published between 1927 and 1941, with an emphasis on Scandinavian literature. It argues that the story of Tantalus, the mythical king whose thirst and hunger were never satisfied, functions as a catachresis that conveys the unattainability of homosexual desire. The article further makes the case that allusions to Tantalus carry a political significance in a context where homosexuality is perceived as a threat to incipient Scandinavian welfare states. Through readings of one novella, two novels and two poems, the article seeks to show that the Tantalus trope can support heteronormativity, but that it may also function as a potentially subversive symbol of the naturalness of same-sex love.