Eldritch desires : queer illegibility and proto-cosmicism in Melville's "The Bell-Tower"
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This report combines queer theory with the cosmicist philosophy of early twentieth-century horror writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft to ask new questions about Herman Melville's treatments of gender and genre in "The Bell-Tower," one of his more obscure short stories. Though the tale has been commonly represented as an exemplar of both the Oedipal complex and Gothic horror, my reading reveals a negative, anti- humanist epistemology and very complex presentations of gender and sexuality at work in the text. This peculiar combination indicates a heretofore-unnoticed line of descent from Melville's story to a still-thriving movement in the horror genre.