Publication Date

2015-03-05

Availability

Embargoed

Embargo Period

2017-03-04

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Modern Languages and Literatures (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2014-10-29

First Committee Member

Ralph Heyndels

Second Committee Member

David R. Ellison

Third Committee Member

Gema Perez-Sanchez

Fourth Committee Member

Claude Coste

Fifth Committee Member

William Rothman

Abstract

This study proposes original analyses of an archive of twentieth and twenty-first century French-language texts and films that fall into what I define and articulate as the genre of “homoerotic travel literature and cinema.” I argue that within each of these works resides a body of questions on the politics, ethics, and erotics of a search for otherness (altérité). In contemplating the tourist’s desire to travel along a route vers le sud, I explore the allure of “Arab” and “Oriental” spaces, and expound on how and why the homoerotic traveler locates various forms of freedom while removed from the pressures of what Joseph Boone refers to as heterosexual priority. Through close and comparative readings of each work under consideration, I describe and analyze what I propose as the concept of homoerotic tourism—and its specific link to the dialectics of desire and melancholy—by identifying traces of the traveler’s quest to access alternate forms of self and being. My analysis of over a century’s worth of materials documents the narrative and visual strategies that distinguish this body of works. Central to this study is what I delineate throughout as the narrative process of rewriting, and how such procedure links to, displaces, and challenges our understanding of the topos of homoerotic tourism throughout the period under investigation. I begin by considering André Gide’s L’immoraliste (1902), and then work my way throughout the twentieth century, reflecting on subsequent “travel” writings by Tony Duvert, Roland Barthes, and Jean Genet. A series of French-language films are also considered as they relate specifically to the literature studied. I conclude this dissertation by elaborating on the thematic of “reverse” homoerotic tourism. In so doing, I contemplate how contemporary Maghrebi writers Abdellah Taïa and Rachid O. point to the Arab tourist’s ability to effectively reverse the route south, thereby rewriting and displacing structures of power and desire in a transnational and bi-cultural context.

Keywords

Sexual tourism; French and Francophone homoerotic literature; Maghreb; Gide; Barthes; Genet

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