‘Possibility, pleasure and peril’: The Night Watch as a very literary history

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Chapter Summary:
The desire to ‘fill in the blanks’ of lost or occluded
lesbian history is apparent in each of Sarah Waters’ first four novels. In
their different ways, each of these works resists the suggestion that
the past can be recovered reliably. Instead, they illustrate the maxim/
truism that representations of the past reflect the concerns of the
present as much as those of the era they seek to recreate. Arguing that
Waters’ fiction aims to create an affective community of readers, this
chapter explores how The Night Watch uses some of the techniques of
historiographic metafiction to create a self-reflexive pastiche of fiction
of the war, which reworks literary mannerisms of both mainstream and
gay fiction of the period.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSarah Waters: Contemporary Critical Perspectives
EditorsKaye Mitchell
ISBN (Print)1441199411
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2013


  • Memory
  • historical fiction
  • empathic unsettlement
  • war fiction
  • gay history


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