A Queer Job for a Girl: The Communicative Touch in Trollope, Hardy, and Lynn Linton

Kate Thomas

in Postal Pleasures

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199730919
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918461 | DOI:
A Queer Job for a Girl: The Communicative Touch in Trollope, Hardy, and Lynn Linton

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Between 1877 and 1881, Anthony Trollope, Thomas Hardy and Eliza Lynn Linton published stories which all portray women companions who are "more like lovers than girl and girl." The women are also all telegraph operators or Post Office employees. This chapter explores why working with postal technologies goes hand in hand with these women’s "predilection" for women. In search of independence, these heroines all set up home with their female companion: these are fictions which imagine what domestic relations might look like for the unmarried, middle-class woman who chooses a working life. This chapter proposes that it is the telecommunicative nature of Post Office work, which elicits stories of lesbian relations. The unmarried women are part of a communication matrix and civil service; the trope of the network thus displaces the rule of the family tree.

Keywords: post office; sex; queer; thomas hardy; eliza lynn lynton; anthony trollope; lesbian; telegraph; telecommunication; literature; victorian

Chapter.  27123 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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