Javid Aliyev (Istanbul Yeni Yüzyıl University)


Javid Aliyev was born in 1984, in Baku, Azerbaijan. He completed his PhD on Turkish translations of James Joyce’s Ulysses from Istanbul University, Translation Studies Department. Currently, he is Assistant Professor at the Department of Translation and Interpretation of the Istanbul Yeni Yüzyıl University. His principal research interests include world literature(s), translation theory, cultural theory, bodies in literature, literary modernism(s), and urban imaginary.


“Monomaniacal Erastai in Metamodernist Gay Novels by Alan Hollinghurst and Robert Glück”

The mid-nineties of the previous century saw the shift from the postmodernist narratives which discredited altogether the character and her/his coherent depth to the emerging “metamodern sensibility” (Vermeulen and van den Akkar, 2) that gave way to the articulation of the more nuanced and complex emphasis on the character with her/his oscillations, contradictions, and ambivalences. This temporal continuum also overlapped with a veritable proliferation of gay novels dealing with the immediate aftermath of the AIDS crisis which framed itself around alienated and disenchanted characters haunted by the fear of the meaningless quotidian existence turned for redemption to their impregnable obsessions. From this standpoint, Alan Hollinghurst’s deliberate choice of the first-person narration of Edward Manners in The Folding Star, whose delirious love towards Luc Altidore and his obsessive quest for beauty and aesthetics pieced together with the fictional biography of the symbolist painter Edgar Orst’s all-consuming love for his muse Jane Byron; and ecstatic musings of Bob who invests his love-object L. with divine attributes mirroring the 15th-century mystic Margery Kempe’s lust for Jesus in Robert Glück’s autofictional Margery Kempe can be seen as the earliest iterations of metamodernist gay novels. Both novels embody gay male protagonists who materialize as modern versions of ancient Greek pederastic erastai manifesting the attributes of pathologized monomanie réflective– i.e., offering art and mystical deification as a substitute and cure against the tediousness of mundane materiality of everyday life. We argue that both Hollinghurst and Glück were able to grasp this metamodernist transformation through the morbid reality of AIDS and were prompt at cultivating a creative response by incorporating the modern concept of “monomania” defined as “idée fixe, a single pathological preoccupation in an otherwise sound mind” (Van Zuylen, 3) emerging from the harsh realization of the loss of transcendence with the metamodernist task of restructuring this lost transcendence through neoromantic resignification of the mythic/mystical past and primacy reattributed to the interior world of the characters.