Queer negativity and utopianism in Virginia Woolf and D.H. Lawrence.

Date of Award


Document Type



College of Liberal Arts

Degree Name

Bachelor in Arts


This essay is an attempt to synthesize two seemingly opposing positions in recent queer theory through readings of two British modernist literary texts. The two positions are the "anti-social turn" and queer utopianism. The former position is associated with the psychoanalytically inflected work of Leo Bersani and Lee Edelman and is concerned with the rejection of heteronormative sociality. I identify theorists such as José Esteban Muñoz, Lauren Berlant and Michael Warner as more closely aligned with queer utopianism, which seeks to engage in a queer worldmaking project. The first section of this essay is a summary and a critical engagement with these theorists in addition to being an introduction to the later sections in which I present readings of the literary texts. The second section is devoted to a reading of Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway. The third and final section is a reading of D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love. I argue that both texts, in certain queer moments, not only reject a repressively heteronormative social world, but also gesture utopically towards the potential for queerer ways of life.