Barry McCrea

 

On his book In the Company of Strangers: Family and Narrative in Dickens, Conan Doyle, Joyce, and Proust

Cover Interview of October 10, 2011

The wide angle

This book is broadly in the field of narratology—that is the examination of how stories are structured and built.  It deals with the questions of how time and change are represented, how novels set up or imply a meaningful sense of connection between the individual and others, between the individual and his/her own past, or with the human past more generally.

It is an attempt really to bring together two fields, narratology, as I said, and “queer theory” which is a critical approach concerned with understanding the place of homosexuality in literature and culture.

While the texts I analyze in the book do not all, by any means, deal with homosexuality per se, haunting them, I argue, is the question fundamental to a gay life, or to a life outside of marriage and reproduction, which is, how does one make a meaningful narrative out of one’s life without producing progeny?