The Ballad of Benson: Creating Queer Young Adult Literature set in Eighteenth-Century London

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Galbraith, Isabella
Young Adult , Creative Writing , Eighteenth-Century , English , Queer Literature
This thesis aims to explore queer normalization in the context of the eighteenth century and young adult novels. Specifically, I suggest that in both academic and creative spheres, there is a lack of queer normalization in young adult literature from or set in this period. I explore what value is added to academic and creative disciplines with the addition of these queer normative worlds. I also contend with the benefits and drawbacks of creating worlds wherein queerness is normalized, despite this not being historically accurate to the work’s temporal setting. In pursuit of exploring these questions, I employ a two-pronged approach. The first prong is a research essay in Chapter 1. In this first chapter, I conduct a temporal analysis of the genre of young adult fiction, considering eighteenth-century dynamics and modern dynamics. I then consider the topics of gender and sexuality as they relate to queerness in the eighteenth century. Throughout this essay, I refer to my own creative work, which makes up the second prong of this thesis. The second prong consists of the opening chapters from an original creative young adult work, The Ballad of Benson, that explores such a world wherein queerness is normalized.
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