Across her career the modernist Edith Sitwell iterated eccentricity as a category of reclaimed value that sanctions an expansive array of previously overlooked and frequently unshared pleasures. These intimate appetites are broadly conceived as operating in variable proximity to embodiment and eros but also as enticingly out of joint with their historical moment. In pursuit of the concept of eccentricity, this essay applies twenty-first-century methods developed by queer studies to the representational strategies Sitwell undertook in English Eccentrics (1933) and I Live under a Black Sun (1937), two counter-Enlightenment texts that draw their found content and characters from the Age of Pope and Swift. It argues that reappropriating eccentricity as a badge of creativity rather than a label for dismissal allows Sitwell to explore more capacious models of pleasure and erotic attachment that are not circumscribed by physical contact or heteronormative consummation. In doing so, Sitwell develops eccentricity as a framework oppositionally defined by the mystification of its peers but angled to claim future recognition.

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