Seminar: Gender Trouble in Conan Doyle’s “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist”

Seminar: Gender Trouble in Conan Doyle’s “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist”

English & Gender Arc Seminar, Wednesday April 11th, 1-2pm, C1079

 

Dr Katerina Kitsi-Mitakou | School of English | Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

 

Gender Trouble in Conan Doyle’s “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist”

 

Although the Victorian period was a time when the sexes were assigned distinct and complementary roles, these rigid gender-role divisions between the two sexes were beginning to dissolve as the nineteenth century was drawing to its close. Among the various factors that contributed to bringing the two genders closer was the cycling boom of the 1890s, and the first-wave feminists embraced the bicycle as a freedom machine and symbol of emancipation. Despite the fact, though, that cycling functioned at first as a gender equaliser, it eventually segregated the sexes, as social norms promoted the idea of gendered cycling and enforced a model of domesticated or feminised cycling for women. This essay aims to explore how Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1895 story “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist” reflects this complicated impact that cycling had on gender segregation and the possibilities it offered for gender fusion as well as the alternative expressions of sexuality it enabled.