Ásta Kristín Benediktsdóttir: The potency of fiction. Queer performances in Man eg þig löngum by Elías Mar
One of the first Icelandic novels to deal relatively openly with queer sexuality and same-sex desire is Elías Mar’s Man eg þig löngum (1949). This article, which is the first scholarly analysis of the novel and its queer theme, focuses on the three main characters, Halldór, Bóas and Ómar, their same-sex desires and what Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick has described as queer performativity: acts that produce meaning and being, challenge heterosexual norms and stand in close relation to the affect shame. Such a reading reveals an intimate relationship between queer sexuality and fiction in Elías Mar’s novel. Through performances such as reading and writing some of the characters are able to express and understand their same-sex desires and feelings, and even imagine a world without shame and prejudice. Other characters do not seek refuge or comfort in fiction, but are heavily affected by shame and depression. In Man eg þig löngum fiction thus opens up a world of queer possibilities.
Keywords: queer performativity, shame, same-sex desire, Elías Mar, Man eg þig löngum