Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Bildung Sideways

Queer/Crip Development and E. M. Forster’s “Fortunate Failure”

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2018), 12, (1), 19–34.

Abstract

In his 1907 novel, The Longest Journey, E. M. Forster draws attention to the bildungsroman’s narrow focus on normative development, heterosexual reproduction, and conventional measures of success as he depicts the tortuous and intentionally failed development of a male youth with physical disabilities. Unlike sexologists and eugenicists of his own time, who looked upon homosexuality and disability as associated expressions of degeneration, Forster envisions alternatives to reproduction and the family, and new ways of ensuring the succession of ideas. The novel’s rejection of adulthood, marriage, and parenthood is read through the lens of recent work on queer development and queer failure from Jack Halberstam and Kathryn Bond Stockton.

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Author details

Andree, Courtney J.