Asexuality in Victorian England: The Celibate Eccentric Genius Trope in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Frankenstein, and Sherlock Holmes
This thesis looks at the trope of the Chaste Eccentric Genius trope in Victorian literature to expose the potential-asexuality in Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. These asexual readings will challenge the hetero-/homosexual binary and eronormativity by evaluating the (lack of) relationships and sex in these three narratives. The readings showed that there are possibilities for queer readings that go beyond hetero- and homosexual and that not every queer reading has to be eronormative to be non-normative. Additionally, the readings will draw connections between asexuality and Fin-de-Siècle beliefs of degeneration. All three stories can be seen as warnings against degeneration and devolution. They also show that not every form of degeneration is related to sex. This thesis hopes to contribute to the upcoming field of asexuality studies. This will hopefully expose a new audience to asexuality and provide some insights into the community's history and experience.
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