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Alan HollinghurstWriting Under the Influence$
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Michèle Mendelssohn and Denis Flannery

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719097171

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719097171.001.0001

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The touch of reading in Hollinghurst’s early prose

The touch of reading in Hollinghurst’s early prose

(p.25) 2 The touch of reading in Hollinghurst’s early prose
Alan Hollinghurst

Angus Brown

Manchester University Press

Before publishing The Swimming-Pool Library in 1988, the most substantial piece of writing that Alan Hollinghurst had completed was his 1977 Oxford M.Litt thesis. This early academic work is marked throughout by careful reading and a preoccupation with bibliography. This preoccupation grew into an obsession that characterizes the rather readerly eroticism of Hollinghurst’s first novel. Hollinghurst’s formative attention to the book as a student and a novelist offers a rare invitation to revisit both the hermeneutics and materiality of reading through the possibility of touch. Building on recent work in queer studies concerning touch and reading, this chapter presents a speculative blueprint for the queer mechanisms that underpin the structure of The Swimming-Pool Library and the intimacy of reading in Hollinghurst’s early work.

Keywords:   Materiality of reading, Queer Studies, Touch, Identity, Early work, Alan Hollinghurst

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