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British and African Literature in Transnational
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Simon Lewis

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813036021

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813036021.001.0001

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Raids on the Inarticulate

Raids on the Inarticulate

Alan Hollinghurst's The Swimming-Pool Library and the Closets of Imperial and Postimperial British History

(p.91) 4 Raids on the Inarticulate
British and African Literature in Transnational Context

Simon Lewis

University Press of Florida

This chapter analyzes Alan Hollinghurst's book The Swimming-Pool Library. In contract, Boyd's book An Ice-Cream War is an exclusive male construction which is based on a combination of public school attitudes towards others while the otherness is defined in terms of race, gender, class, and nation. Furthermore, The Swimming-Pool Library takes on the otherness of homosexuality. Indeed, it is generally read as a “gay novel” eulogizing the brief period of relative permissiveness between the 1967 decriminalization of homosexuality in Great Britain and the explosive spread of AIDS in the early 1980s. Hollinghurst's linking of two generally unrecorded histories—of black London and of gay London—makes The Swimming-Pool Library a perfect example of what Christopher Lane identifies as the paradoxical nature of homosexual desire in “British colonial allegory.”

Keywords:   Alan Hollinghurst, The Swimming-Pool Library, An Ice-Cream War, homosexuality, black London, gay London, British colonies, homosexual relationships

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