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A Desire Called AmericaBiopolitics, Utopia, and the Literary Commons$
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Christian P. Haines

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823286942

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823286942.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

Nobody’s Wife: Affective Economies of Marriage in Emily Dickinson

Nobody’s Wife: Affective Economies of Marriage in Emily Dickinson

Chapter:
(p.114) Chapter 3 Nobody’s Wife: Affective Economies of Marriage in Emily Dickinson
Source:
A Desire Called America
Author(s):

Christian P. Haines

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823286942.003.0004

This chapter examines Emily Dickinson’s poetry, especially her poems focusing on marriage, domestic life, and coupling. It argues that this poetry develops a feminist critique of the social reproduction of American capitalism, that is, it examines how housework, domestic labor, and other kinds of activities are integral to the reproduction of capitalism and the nation-state. The chapter focuses on how Dickinson’s critique of domesticity deals with affect, intimacy, and emotion, especially heteronormative love and bourgeois romance. Finally, it analyzes how Dickinson creates a utopian alternative to bourgeois, heteronormative romance in the form of queer marriage: a non-normative form of coupling based on equality, preference, tactility, pleasure, and contingent relationality. The chapter puts Dickinson into conversation with Marxism, feminism (especially socialist feminism), and queer theory.

Keywords:   affect, biopolitics, Emily Dickinson, domestic labor, feminism, marriage, queer theory, social reproduction, utopia

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