What happens if we read nineteenth-century and Victorian texts not for the autonomous liberal subject, but for singularity—for what is partial, contingent, and in relation, rather than what is merely "alone"? Feminine Singularity offers a powerful feminist theory of the subject—and shows us paths to thinking subjectivity, race, and gender anew in literature and in our wider social world.
Through fresh, sophisticated readings of Lewis Carroll, Christina Rossetti, Charles Baudelaire, and Wilkie Collins in conversation with psychoanalysis, Black feminist and queer-of-color theory, and continental philosophy, Ronjaunee Chatterjee uncovers a lexicon of feminine singularity that manifests across poetry and prose through likeness and minimal difference, rather than individuality and identity. Reading for singularity shows us the ways femininity is fundamentally entangled with racial difference in the nineteenth century and well into the contemporary, as well as how rigid categories can be unsettled and upended.
Grappling with the ongoing violence embedded in the Western liberal imaginary, Feminine Singularity invites readers to commune with the subversive potentials in nineteenth-century literature for thinking subjectivity today.
About the author
Ronjaunee Chatterjee is Assistant Professor of English at Queen's University.
"Ambitious, theoretically sophisticated, and original, Feminine Singularity shows us the importance of literary texts in theorizing alternative political ways of being in the world."
—Zarena Aslami, Michigan State University
"Chatterjee desegregates Victorian studies and erases the field's boundaries, brilliantly reading 19th-century literature with third-wave feminism, Black radicalism, and continental theory. A compelling and exhilaratingly learned call to think fearlessly, as if our future depended on it."
—Elaine Freedgood, New York University
"[a] theoretically sophisticated volume which successfully and insightfully charts a vision to help us rethink racial and gendered subjectivity not only in Victorian studies but in current Western culture which despite its historical ideology of individuation, continues to be defined by otherness, violence, and difference."
—Jolene Zigarovich, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies