This project analyzes two books of contemporary creative nonfiction: The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson (2015) and Time Is the Thing a Body Moves Through by T Fleischmann (2019). Both writers centrally deal with queerness in their texts as a concept that is ineffable, or unable to be fully explained in words. I explain how to think about queerness as ineffable through the work of queer theorists Judith Butler and José Esteban Muñoz. In their books, Nelson and Fleischmann recognize that language is insufficient or even harmful in maintaining the ineffability of queerness, which poses a significant paradox for their works that are made up of language. I argue that it is in their use of the queer formal elements of non-linearity, blank space, and an incomplete integration of outside texts that Nelson and Fleischmann are able write about queerness beyond the use of language and therefore maintain the concept’s ineffability. I acknowledge that both writers are invested in affirming the realness of queer bodies and extending that sense of realness to others and argue that they do so successfully through their use of queer form. By engaging queer theory and conducting a formal analysis of The Argonauts and Time Is the Thing a Body Moves Through, I show how queer form can make possible writing about queer content.


Bissonauth, Natasha

Second Advisor

Sacks, Susanna


English; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Literature in English, North America


queer, queer theory, form

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



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