Walkinshaw, S. A. (2020). Utopian Longing: Space and the Production of Affect in the Work of Toni Schwabe. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.14418/wes01.1.2335
In my thesis, I analyze, predominantly, two novels written by the author Toni Schwabe, Die Hochzeit der Esther Franzenius and Bleib jung meine Seele!. Schwabe is a relatively unstudied author from the German cannon, so in my introduction, I provide a thorough explanation of her literary and historical significance. In my introduction, I critically engage with the limited secondary literature of Schwabe and situate myself against the predominantly hermeneutic model of interpretation of Detering and Bauer, in favor of an affective approach to the texts. To better understand the ways in which spaces of habitation affect subjectivity, I use Berlant’s cruel optimism and Halberstam’s queer art of failure in conjunction with Levitas’ and Bloch’s notions of concrete versus abstract utopia. Additionally, Foucault’s theory of heterotopic spaces provides another analytic lever. Nevertheless, while utilizing this theory, I also depart from it. Rather than blanketly mapping on these theories independent of one another, I combine their approaches to better understand the theoretical moves Schwabe makes herself. I end my thesis though in our contemporary moment in an attempt to bridge the gap between Bauer’s specifically historic-socio-political approach to Schwabe’s text, not as a detraction from Bauer’s work, but rather an expansion on the important analysis she has already provided. In my conclusion, I offer a path forwards for contemporary queer studies by inciting Moten’s abolitionist approach, while drawing similarities between him and Schwabe.