"Remember... Whose girl you are": Dynamics of domination in Sarah Waters's Affinity (1999)

Lea Heiberg Madsen
2013 International Journal of English Studies (IJES)  
<p>This paper discusses, from a psychoanalytic perspective, Sarah Waters's novel Affinity (1999) which has played a crucial role in the consolidation of the neo-Victorian genre and, indeed, has become a touchstone for contemporary feminist fiction. Through Jessica Benjamin's intersubjective theory it analyses Waters's extraordinary re-presentation of women's same-sex relationships, with particular focus on the dynamics of domination and submission which characterises the female couples in the
more » ... le couples in the novel. Benjamin's approach to the problem of domination gives valuable insight into the psychological structures of erotic hierarchy and, in turn, opens up for new ways to understand erotic desire and power dynamics between men and women, or between people of the same sex. In addition, an exploration of Affinity from an intersubjective perspective casts light onto how the novel transgresses both Victorian boundaries and those that persist in contemporary culture.</p>
doi:10.6018/ijes/2013/1/136861 fatcat:5nzh5aehcjdgflduv33zi4f3ci