Incest and the Literary Imagination

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This wide-ranging collection tracks the contradictory roles of incest in Anglo-American literature, politics, and culture from the Middle Ages, a period Elizabeth Barnes states is considered unrivaled for its unblinking acceptance of many varieties of incest, to the present. Barnes explicates the role of incest in Anglo-American literature and culture, and in doing so sheds new light on the familiar story of incest as a vice of barbarians and a privilege of the elite. The essays range across a variety of methodological approaches - including psychoanalytic, cultural-historical, biographical, and queer theoretical.