immensely potent tool that had become available for the manipulation of every form of power that refracted through the gender system--that is, in European society, of virtually every form of power'. 98 The homosexual, as someone who threatened the gender balance that was at the basis of all other social distinctions, thus became a symbol of disorder. The gradual definition and exclusion of the 'homosexual' over the course of the nineteenth century can be seen, from this perspective, as a counterpart to the creation of bourgeois economic, political, and social hegemony. 99

Yet just as the creation of a bourgeois order was the result of much conflict and struggle, the development of the 'homosexual' as a sign for deviance was the result of a specific historical evolution. Both processes were uneven, subject to negotiation, and both were inextricably linked. 100 In the process of replacing one model of the social hierarchy with another, there arose an opportunity for negotiating the meaning of 'difference', an opportunity that created a possibility of imagining the social order differently, and of imagining same-sex sexuality in a more fluid, and more positive, manner. 101 Rather than reject change, writers such as Gautier embraced it, and explored its many possibilities. Théodore/Madeleine's sentiment in his/her parting letter, 'to remain in the same spot is to move backwards', would be shared by many who believed that questioning received ideas concerning categories of class, gender, and sexuality was a necessary component of social change. 102


Notes
1.
Maxine du Camp, Théophile Gautier, trans. J. E. Gordon ( 1893; repr., Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1971), 156.
2.
Théophile Gautier, Mademoiselle de Maupin ( Paris: Garnier-Flammarion, 1966), 212. On the hermaphrodite as a symbol of perfection in romantic literature see Michel Crouzet, "'Mademoiselle de Maupin ou l'Eros romantique'", Romantisme, 8 ( 1974), 2-21; Lucienne Frappier-Mazur, "'La Structure symbolique de Séraphîta et le mythe de l'androgyne'", L'Année Balzacienne 1973, 235-77. For a more negative nineteenth-century view of the hermaphrodite see Michel Foucault (ed.), Herculine Barbin: Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a Nineteenth-Century Hermaphrodite, trans. Richard McDougall ( New York: Pantheon Books, 1980).
3.
Gautier, Mademoiselle de Maupin, 195. For an interesting comparison, see Dennis Allen discussion of Oscar Wilde use of homosexuality to indicate the dissolution of the distinction between subject and object in "The Picture of Dorian Gray" in Dennis W. Allen, Sexuality in Victorian Fiction ( Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1994).
4.
du Camp, Théophile Gautier, 155.

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