We shall never again inhabit that fantasy of ourselves that never was, for now we know it to have been a fantasy.
“Write, Paint, Dance, Sex Queer Styles/American Fictions”
in After Queer Studies: Literature, Theory and Sexuality in the 21st Century edited by Tyler Bradway and E.L. McCallum
[in reference to the novels of Henry James and narrative closure]
We shall never again inhabit that fantasy of ourselves that never was, for now we know it to have been a fantasy. This makes the supposition that there can be an “after” queer studies somewhat incomprehensible. From a Jamesian perspective we could ask: Can queer desire be contained within a teleological narrative of beginnings and ends? Can ways of reading it? If, as readers, we crave a stable, simplified version of James’s, or any, novelistic world as one way to simplify and stabilize the relations we have in our own, this wish for a resolution is precisely what James mirrors back to us and then refuses by confronting us with a narrative that insists — through its presentation of provisional and impoverished forms of perception, its exhaustive use of prepositional clause as a way to mine the slow rhythms of thinking, its temporal discontinuities — upon the impossibility of an ending. In the writerly practices, the resolute attachments to irresolution, James shows himself at his most queer. To refuse the closure of the marriage plot is to refuse the time of heterosexuality. To embrace the structural and temporal vicissitudes of the narration of desire is to open up the categories of sexuality to greater, more multiple possibilities for attachment, intimacy, and sex.
a never ending beginning
And so for day 2567