Jill Ehnenn's essay "'Our brains struck fire each from each': Disidentification, Difference, and Desire in the Collaborative Aesthetics of Michael Field" has been published in Economies of Desire at the Victorian Fin de Siècle: Libidinal Lives, eds. Jane Ford, Kim Edwards Keates, and Patricia Pulham (Routledge).
This essay explores the Michael Field collaboration as a relationship that appropriates and queers heteronormative conventions in order to negotiate late-Victorian paradigms of gender and sexuality, authorship and subjectivity, Aestheticism and Decadence. Reading both literary and autobiographical texts as textual performances with queer implications for theorizing nineteenth-century representations of co-authorship and same-sex love, Jill asserts that Field fosters their long-standing partnership by employing strategies akin to queer disidentification. The coauthors find erotic and intellectual play with difference, gender, and the gaze pleasurable and inspiring; celebrating difference within their relationship also enables Field to enter conversations about art as authentic expression vs. reproducing convention as commodity. As Jill demonstrates, it is in and through the complexities of their relationship to each other, authorship, and art, that Michael Field's partnership and writing manifest many of the contradictions now associated with Aestheticism.