Sexualized Language in The Aspern Papers

Refer back to Washington Square
p. 43 Mr. Townsend as object of desire
-James own projection of homosexual desire through a female character

Argue that there is definitely a homoerotic element to Aspern papers, but what James is doing with it is less certain. Different from what’s seen in W.S.

*First, would the class agree that the narrator of A.P. is what we’d call unreliable, he is untrustworthy?
*Secondly, is it fair to say that we are to view him as sick and perverse?

I. View some passages that might hint at homoerotic desire.
Might be good to jot down any words/phrases as we read that you see that might be considered sexualized while the narrator discusses either Aspern or his papers.
p. 47 most genial men and one of the handsomest
p. 88 But it stirred me deeply
p. 97 caused all my pulses to throb, felt them too deeply to speak
p. 108 flushed at the act (recall blushing in Austen)
p. 121 “If only you could find out!” groaned, quivering again
p. 123 desire to possess myself of JA’s papers
p. 133 I gasped as it passed into my hand

*What sexualized words or phrases did you all pick out?
*Does anyone disagree that there’s a homoerotic tone in these passages?
*Do you think that the narrator is aware of his homosexuality?
*Did anyone think that James might be trying to express his own desire in these passages, as he might have been doing in WS?

Why might this be a different case than WS:
1. Delusional representations of the narrator
p. 73 That spirit, I had invoked him and he had come.. meeting as clear friends
p. 134 I consulted JA’s delightful eyes w/ my own.. since I had known him
p. 135-136 “Get out of it as you can dear fellow!”
*Maybe an obvious question, but what strikes you as odd about these passages?
-Delusional, fantastic, imagines having a relationship with Aspern; however, does not necessarily admit sexual attraction.
Not presenting narrator favorably

Secondly, a...