Heart in the Right Place: Thatcherism and Love in Jeanette Winterson's The Passion
This essay argues that Jeanette Winterson’s The Passion (1987) employs the past to examine the present and explores the role of love in Thatcherism. Drawing on Sara Ahmed’s The Cultural Politics of Emotion (2004), it proposes that Winterson opposes the passions that defined the decade—Thatcherite love of nation and money—with feminist and queer reconceptions of love based on connection, community, and otherness. By showing how the novel’s critique of Thatcherism intersects with critiques of heteropatriarchy, the essay challenges the view that Winterson’s fiction privileges matters of the heart over social and political issues. Anticipating Ahmed’s analysis, Winterson demonstrates that, while love often sustains inequality and injustice, love reconceived has the potential to reshape the world—a theme that becomes central to her later work.
Author affiliationDepartment of English, University of Leicester
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