Cox, Catherine S. "Queering the Siren’s Call. Signatures of Subjectivity in Dante’s Purgatorio and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home." In: Exemplaria 22.1 (2010), S. 44–64.
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|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Cox2010
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Keywords: "Divina Commedia", "Fun Home", Autobiography, Bechdel. Alison, Dante, Gender, Literature, USA
This essay considers the significance of the Siren figure to Dante’s Purgatorio and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home with a focus on the figure’s relation to tropes of knowledge, specifically self-knowledge as manifested in the reading, writing, and speaking of the self. The Siren’s call pertains not only to the classical notion of a woman’s vocal allure, answered by those men for whom it signals the possibility of ultimate experience, but also to the allure of intertextual discourses as a means of foregrounding correlations of subjectivity and desire. Derived from Homeric epic and reinterpreted by philosophers and writers such as Boethius and Cicero, the Siren brings to the narrative a self-reflexive awareness of subjectivity manifest in subject/object positions: the self as it desires and as it knows that it desires what it desires. The Siren operates as a trope of queer subjectivity, complicating the narratives’ engagement with issues of subjectivity and desire. In bringing these two texts together in comparison and juxtaposition, I hope to show, via their reciprocal critical lenses, how each draws upon, and contributes to, discourses elucidating subjectivity and its signatures in Western literature and culture.
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