Since queer theory originated in the early 1990s, its insights and modes of analysis have been taken up by scholars across the humanities and social sciences. In After Sex? prominent contributors to the development of queer studies offer personal reflections on the field’s history, accomplishments, potential, and limitations. They consider the purpose of queer theory and the extent to which it is or is not defined by its engagement with sex and sexuality. For many of the contributors, a broad notion of sexuality is essential to queer thought. At the same time, some of them caution against creating an all-embracing idea of queerness, because it empties the term “queer” of meaning and assumes the universality of ideas developed in the North American academy. Some essays recall the political urgency of the late 1980s and early 1990s, when gay and lesbian activist and queer theory projects converged in response to the AIDS crisis. Other pieces exemplify more recent trends in queer critique, including the turn to affect and the debates surrounding the “antisocial thesis,” which associates queerness with the repudiation of heteronormative forms of belonging. Contributors discuss queer theory’s engagement with questions of transnationality and globalization, temporality and historical periodization. Meditating on the past and present of queer studies, After Sex? illuminates its future.
Contributors. Lauren Berlant, Leo Bersani, Michael Cobb, Ann Cvetkovich, Lee Edelman, Richard Thompson Ford, Carla Freccero, Elizabeth Freeman, Jonathan Goldberg, Janet Halley, Neville Hoad, Joseph Litvak, Heather Love, Michael Lucey, Michael Moon, José Esteban Muñoz, Jeff Nunokawa, Andrew Parker, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Richard Rambuss, Erica Rand, Bethany Schneider, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Kate Thomas
Shame, Kathryn Bond Stockton argues in Beautiful Bottom, Beautiful Shame, has often been a meeting place for the signs “black” and “queer” and for black and queer people—overlapping groups who have been publicly marked as degraded and debased. But when and why have certain forms of shame been embraced by blacks and queers? How does debasement foster attractions? How is it used for aesthetic delight? What does it offer for projects of sorrow and ways of creative historical knowing? How and why is it central to camp?
Stockton engages the domains of African American studies, queer theory, psychoanalysis, film theory, photography, semiotics, and gender studies. She brings together thinkers rarely, if ever, read together in a single study—James Baldwin, Radclyffe Hall, Jean Genet, Toni Morrison, Robert Mapplethorpe, Eldridge Cleaver, Todd Haynes, Norman Mailer, Leslie Feinberg, David Fincher, and Quentin Tarantino—and reads them with and against major theorists, including Georges Bataille, Sigmund Freud, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Jacques Lacan, Roland Barthes, and Leo Bersani. Stockton asserts that there is no clear, mirrored relation between the terms “black” and “queer”; rather, seemingly definitive associations attached to each are often taken up or crossed through by the other. Stockton explores dramatic switchpoints between these terms: the stigmatized “skin” of some queers’ clothes, the description of blacks as an “economic bottom,” the visual force of interracial homosexual rape, the complicated logic of so-called same-sex miscegenation, and the ways in which a famous depiction of slavery (namely, Morrison’s Beloved) seems bound up with depictions of AIDS. All of the thinkers Stockton considers scrutinize the social nature of shame as they examine the structures that make debasements possible, bearable, pleasurable, and creative, even in their darkness.
What is it like to “feel historical”? In Foundlings Christopher Nealon analyzes texts produced by American gay men and lesbians in the first half of the twentieth century—poems by Hart Crane, novels by Willa Cather, gay male physique magazines, and lesbian pulp fiction. Nealon brings these diverse works together by highlighting a coming-of-age narrative he calls “foundling”—a term for queer disaffiliation from and desire for family, nation, and history. The young runaways in Cather’s novels, the way critics conflated Crane’s homosexual body with his verse, the suggestive poses and utopian captions of muscle magazines, and Beebo Brinker, the aging butch heroine from Ann Bannon’s pulp novels—all embody for Nealon the uncertain space between two models of lesbian and gay sexuality. The “inversion” model dominant in the first half of the century held that homosexuals are souls of one gender trapped in the body of another, while the more contemporary “ethnic” model refers to the existence of a distinct and collective culture among gay men and lesbians. Nealon’s unique readings, however, reveal a constant movement between these two discursive poles, and not, as is widely theorized, a linear progress from one to the other. This startlingly original study will interest those working on gay and lesbian studies, American literature and culture, and twentieth-century history.
In Getting Medieval Carolyn Dinshaw examines communities—dissident and orthodox—in late-fourteenth and early-fifteenth-century England to create a new sense of queer history. Reaching beyond both medieval and queer studies, Dinshaw demonstrates in this challenging work how intellectual inquiry into pre-modern societies can contribute invaluably to current issues in cultural studies. In the process, she makes important connections between past and present cultures that until now have not been realized. In her pursuit of historical analyses that embrace the heterogeneity and indeterminacy of sex and sexuality, Dinshaw examines canonical Middle English texts such as the Canterbury Tales and TheBook of Margery Kempe. She examines polemics around the religious dissidents known as the Lollards as well as accounts of prostitutes in London to address questions of how particular sexual practices and identifications were normalized while others were proscribed. By exploring contemporary (mis)appropriations of medieval tropes in texts ranging from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction to recent Congressional debates on U.S. cultural production, Dinshaw demonstrates how such modern media can serve to reinforce constrictive heteronormative values and deny the multifarious nature of history. Finally, she works with and against the theories of Michel Foucault, Homi K. Bhabha, Roland Barthes, and John Boswell to show how deconstructionist impulses as well as historical perspectives can further an understanding of community in both pre- and postmodern societies. This long-anticipated volume will be indispensible to medieval and queer scholars and will be welcomed by a larger cultural studies audience.
A bestseller in France following its publication in 1999, Insult and the Making of the Gay Self is an extraordinary set of reflections on “the gay question” by Didier Eribon, one of France’s foremost public intellectuals. Known internationally as the author of a pathbreaking biography of Michel Foucault, Eribon is a leading voice in French gay studies. In explorations of gay subjectivity as it is lived now and as it has been expressed in literary history and in the life and work of Foucault, Eribon argues that gay male politics, social life, and culture are transformative responses to an oppressive social order. Bringing together the work of Jean-Paul Sartre, Pierre Bourdieu, Judith Butler, and Erving Goffman, he contends that gay culture and political movements flow from the need to overcome a world of insult in the process of creating gay selves.
Eribon describes the emergence of homosexual literature in Britain and France at the turn of the last century and traces this new gay discourse from Oscar Wilde and the literary circles of late-Victorian Oxford to André Gide and Marcel Proust. He asserts that Foucault should be placed in a long line of authors—including Wilde, Gide, and Proust—who from the nineteenth century onward have tried to create spaces in which to resist subjection and reformulate oneself. Drawing on his unrivaled knowledge of Foucault’s oeuvre, Eribon presents a masterful new interpretation of Foucault. He calls attention to a particular passage from Madness and Civilization that has never been translated into English. Written some fifteen years before The History of Sexuality, this passage seems to contradict Foucault’s famous idea that homosexuality was a late-nineteenth-century construction. Including an argument for the use of Hannah Arendt’s thought in gay rights advocacy, Insult and the Making of the Gay Self is an impassioned call for critical, active engagement with the question of how gay life is shaped both from without and within.
Making Girls into Women offers an account of the historical emergence of "the lesbian" by looking at late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century women's writing. Kathryn R. Kent proposes that modern lesbian identity in the United States has its roots not just, or even primarily, in sexology and medical literature, but in white, middle-class women’s culture. Kent demonstrates how, as white women's culture shifted more and more from the home to the school, workplace, and boarding house, the boundaries between the public and private spheres began to dissolve. She shows how, within such spaces, women's culture, in attempting to mold girls into proper female citizens, ended up inciting in them other, less normative, desires and identifications, including ones Kent calls "protolesbian" or queer.
Kent not only analyzes how texts represent queer erotics, but also theorizes how texts might produce them in readers. She describes the ways postbellum sentimental literature such as that written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Louisa May Alcott, and Emma D. Kelley eroticizes, reacts against, and even, in its own efforts to shape girls’ selves, contributes to the production of queer female identifications and identities. Tracing how these identifications are engaged and critiqued in the early twentieth century, she considers works by Djuna Barnes, Gertrude Stein, Marianne Moore, and Elizabeth Bishop, as well as in the queer subject-forming effects of another modern invention, the Girl Scouts. Making Girls into Women ultimately reveals that modern lesbian identity marks an extension of, rather than a break from, nineteenth-century women’s culture.
Margaret Mead Made Me Gay is the intellectual autobiography of cultural anthropologist Esther Newton, a pioneer in gay and lesbian studies. Chronicling the development of her ideas from the excitement of early feminism in the 1960s to friendly critiques of queer theory in the 1990s, this collection covers a range of topics such as why we need more precise sexual vocabularies, why there have been fewer women doing drag than men, and how academia can make itself more hospitable to queers. It brings together such classics as “The Mythic Mannish Lesbian” and “Dick(less) Tracy and the Homecoming Queen” with entirely new work such as “Theater: Gay Anti-Church.” Newton’s provocative essays detail a queer academic career while offering a behind-the-scenes view of academic homophobia. In four sections that correspond to major periods and interests in her life—”Drag and Camp,” “Lesbian-Feminism,” “Butch,” and “Queer Anthropology”—the volume reflects her successful struggle to create a body of work that uses cultural anthropology to better understand gender oppression, early feminism, theatricality and performance, and the sexual and erotic dimensions of fieldwork. Combining personal, theoretical, and ethnographic perspectives, Margaret Mead Made Me Gay also includes photographs from Newton’s personal and professional life. With wise and revealing discussions of the complex relations between experience and philosophy, the personal and the political, and identities and practices, Margaret Mead Made Me Gay is important for anyone interested in the birth and growth of gay and lesbian studies.
Offering a new queer theorization of melodrama, Jonathan Goldberg explores the ways melodramatic film and literature provide an aesthetics of impossibility. Focused on the notion of what Douglas Sirk termed the "impossible situation" in melodrama, such as impasses in sexual relations that are not simply reflections of social taboo and prohibitions, Goldberg pursues films by Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Todd Haynes that respond to Sirk's prompt. His analysis hones in on melodrama's original definition--a form combining music and drama--as he explores the use of melodrama in Beethoven's opera Fidelio, films by Alfred Hitchcock, and fiction by Willa Cather and Patricia Highsmith, including her Ripley novels. Goldberg illuminates how music and sound provide queer ways to promote identifications that exceed the bounds of the identity categories meant to regulate social life. The interaction of musical, dramatic, and visual elements gives melodrama its indeterminacy, making it resistant to normative forms of value and a powerful tool for creating new potentials.
In more than ninety novels and novellas, Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850) created a universe teeming with over two thousand characters. The Misfit of the Family reveals how Balzac, in imagining the dense, vividly rendered social world of his novels, used his writing as a powerful means to understand and analyze—as well as represent—a range of forms of sexuality. Moving away from the many psychoanalytic approaches to the novelist's work, Michael Lucey contends that in order to grasp the full complexity with which sexuality was understood by Balzac, it is necessary to appreciate how he conceived of its relation to family, history, economics, law, and all the many structures within which sexualities take form.
The Misfit of the Family is a compelling argument that Balzac must be taken seriously as a major inventor and purveyor of new tools for analyzing connections between the sexual and the social. Lucey’s account of the novelist’s deployment of "sexual misfits" to impel a wide range of his most canonical works—Cousin Pons, Cousin Bette, Eugenie Grandet, Lost Illusions, The Girl with the Golden Eyes—demonstrates how even the flexible umbrella term "queer" barely covers the enormous diversity of erotic and social behaviors of his characters. Lucey draws on the thinking of Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu and engages the work of critics of nineteenth-century French fiction, including Naomi Schor, D. A. Miller, Franco Moretti, and others. His reflections on Proust as Balzac’s most cannily attentive reader suggest how the lines of social and erotic force he locates in Balzac’s work continued to manifest themselves in twentieth-century writing and society.
Never Say I reveals the centrality of representations of sexuality, and particularly same-sex sexual relations, to the evolution of literary prose forms in twentieth-century France. Rethinking the social and literary innovation of works by Marcel Proust, André Gide, and Colette, Michael Lucey considers these writers’ production of a first-person voice in which matters related to same-sex sexuality could be spoken of. He shows how their writings and careers took on political and social import in part through the contribution they made to the representation of social groups that were only slowly coming to be publicly recognized. Proust, Gide, and Colette helped create persons and characters, points of view, and narrative practices from which to speak and write about, for, or as people attracted to those of the same sex.
Considering novels along with journalism, theatrical performances, correspondences, and face-to-face encounters, Lucey focuses on the interlocking social and formal dimensions of using the first person. He argues for understanding the first person not just as a grammatical category but also as a collectively produced social artifact, demonstrating that Proust’s, Gide’s, and Colette’s use of the first person involved a social process of assuming the authority to speak about certain issues, or on behalf of certain people. Lucey reveals these three writers as both practitioners and theorists of the first person; he traces how, when they figured themselves or other first persons in certain statements regarding same-sex identity, they self-consciously called attention to the creative effort involved in doing so.
In this searing polemic, Lee Edelman outlines a radically uncompromising new ethics of queer theory. His main target is the all-pervasive figure of the child, which he reads as the linchpin of our universal politics of “reproductive futurism.” Edelman argues that the child, understood as innocence in need of protection, represents the possibility of the future against which the queer is positioned as the embodiment of a relentlessly narcissistic, antisocial, and future-negating drive. He boldly insists that the efficacy of queerness lies in its very willingness to embrace this refusal of the social and political order. In No Future, Edelman urges queers to abandon the stance of accommodation and accede to their status as figures for the force of a negativity that he links with irony, jouissance, and, ultimately, the death drive itself.
Closely engaging with literary texts, Edelman makes a compelling case for imagining Scrooge without Tiny Tim and Silas Marner without little Eppie. Looking to Alfred Hitchcock’s films, he embraces two of the director’s most notorious creations: the sadistic Leonard of North by Northwest, who steps on the hand that holds the couple precariously above the abyss, and the terrifying title figures of The Birds, with their predilection for children. Edelman enlarges the reach of contemporary psychoanalytic theory as he brings it to bear not only on works of literature and film but also on such current political flashpoints as gay marriage and gay parenting. Throwing down the theoretical gauntlet, No Future reimagines queerness with a passion certain to spark an equally impassioned debate among its readers.
Novel Gazing is the first collection of queer criticism on the history of the novel. The contributors to this volume navigate new territory in literary theory with essays that implicitly challenge the "hermeneutic of suspicion" widespread in current critical theory. In a stunning introductory essay, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick delineates the possibilities for a criticism that would be "reparative" rather than cynical or paranoid. The startlingly imaginative essays in the volume explore new critical practices that can weave the pleasures and disorientations of reading into the fabric of queer analyses. Through discussions of a diverse array of British, French, and American novels—including major canonical novels, best-sellers, children’s fiction, and science fiction—these essays explore queer worlds of taste, texture, joy, and ennui, focusing on such subjects as flogging, wizardry, exorcism, dance, Zionist desire, and Internet sexuality. Interpreting the works of authors as diverse as Benjamin Constant, Toni Morrison, T. H. White, and William Gibson, along with canonical queer modernists such as James, Proust, Woolf, and Cather, contributors reveal the wealth of ways in which selves and communities succeed in extracting sustenance from the objects of a culture whose avowed desire has often been not to sustain them. The dramatic reframing that these essays perform will make the significance of Novel Gazing extend beyond the scope of queer studies to literary criticism in general.
Contributors. Stephen Barber, Renu Bora, Anne Chandler, James Creech, Tyler Curtain, Jonathan Goldberg, Joseph Litvak, Michael Lucey, Jeff Nunokawa, Cindy Patton, Jacob Press, Robert F. Reid-Pharr, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Melissa Solomon, Kathryn Bond Stockton, John Vincent, Maurice Wallace, Barry Weller
Children are thoroughly, shockingly queer, as Kathryn Bond Stockton explains in The Queer Child, where she examines children’s strangeness, even some children’s subliminal “gayness,” in the twentieth century. Estranging, broadening, darkening forms of children emerge as this book illuminates the child queered by innocence, the child queered by color, the child queered by Freud, the child queered by money, and the grown homosexual metaphorically seen as a child (or as an animal), alongside the gay child. What might the notion of a “gay” child do to conceptions of the child? How might it outline the pain, closets, emotional labors, sexual motives, and sideways movements that attend all children, however we deny it?
Engaging and challenging the work of sociologists, legal theorists, and historians, Stockton coins the term “growing sideways” to describe ways of growing that defy the usual sense of growing “up” in a linear trajectory toward full stature, marriage, reproduction, and the relinquishing of childish ways. Growing sideways is a mode of irregular growth involving odd lingerings, wayward paths, and fertile delays. Contending that children’s queerness is rendered and explored best in fictional forms, including literature, film, and television, Stockton offers dazzling readings of works ranging from novels by Henry James, Radclyffe Hall, Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes, and Vladimir Nabokov to the movies Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, The Hanging Garden, Heavenly Creatures, Hoop Dreams, and the 2005 remake of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The result is a fascinating look at children’s masochism, their interactions with pedophiles and animals, their unfathomable, hazy motives (leading them at times into sex, seduction, delinquency, and murder), their interracial appetites, and their love of consumption and destruction through the alluring economy of candy.
Martyred saints, Moors, Jews, viragoes, hermaphrodites, sodomites, kings, queens, and cross-dressers comprise the fascinating mosaic of historical and imaginative figures unearthed in Queer Iberia. The essays in this volume describe and analyze the sexual diversity that proliferated during the period between the tenth and the sixteenth centuries when political hegemony in the region passed from Muslim to Christian hands. To show how sexual otherness is most evident at points of cultural conflict, the contributors use a variety of methodologies and perspectives and consider source materials that originated in Castilian, Latin, Arabic, Catalan, and Galician-Portuguese. Covering topics from the martydom of Pelagius to the exploits of the transgendered Catalina de Erauso, this volume is the first to provide a comprehensive historical examination of the relations among race, gender, sexuality, nation-building, colonialism, and imperial expansion in medieval and early modern Iberia. Some essays consider archival evidence of sexual otherness or evaluate the use of “deviance” as a marker for cultural and racial difference, while others explore both male and female homoeroticism as literary-aesthetic discourse or attempt to open up canonical texts to alternative readings. Positing a queerness intrinsic to Iberia’s historical process and cultural identity, Queer Iberia will challenge the field of Iberian studies while appealing to scholars of medieval, cultural, Hispanic, gender, and gay and lesbian studies.
Contributors. Josiah Blackmore, Linde M. Brocato, Catherine Brown, Israel Burshatin, Daniel Eisenberg, E. Michael Gerli, Roberto J. González-Casanovas, Gregory S. Hutcheson, Mark D. Jordan, Sara Lipton, Benjamin Liu, Mary Elizabeth Perry, Michael Solomon, Louise O. Vasvári, Barbara Weissberger
Carla Freccero Duke University Press, 2006 Library of Congress HQ76.25.F72 2006 | Dewey Decimal 306.76601
In Queer/Early/Modern, Carla Freccero, a leading scholar of early modern European studies, argues for a reading practice that accounts for the queerness of temporality, for the way past, present, and future time appear out of sequence and in dialogue in our thinking about history and texts. Freccero takes issue with New Historicist accounts of sexual identity that claim to respect historical proprieties and to derive identity categories from the past. She urges us to see how the indeterminacies of subjectivity found in literary texts challenge identitarian constructions and she encourages us to read differently the relation between history and literature. Contending that the term “queer,” in its indeterminacy, points the way toward alternative ethical reading practices that do justice to the aftereffects of the past as they live on in the present, Freccero proposes a model of “fantasmatic historiography” that brings together history and fantasy, past and present, event and affect.
Combining feminist theory, queer theory, psychoanalysis, deconstruction, and literary criticism, Freccero takes up a series of theoretical and historical issues related to debates in queer theory, feminist theory, the history of sexuality, and early modern studies. She juxtaposes readings of early and late modern texts, discussing the lyric poetry of Petrarch, Louise Labé, and Melissa Ethridge; David Halperin’s take on Michel Foucault via Apuleius’s The Golden Ass and Boccaccio’s Decameron; and France’s domestic partner legislation in connection with Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptameron. Turning to French cleric Jean de Léry’s account, published in 1578, of having witnessed cannibalism and religious rituals in Brazil some twenty years earlier and to the twentieth-century Brandon Teena case, Freccero draws on Jacques Derrida’s concept of spectrality to propose both an ethics and a mode of interpretation that acknowledges and is inspired by the haunting of the present by the past.
Queering the Renaissance
Jonathan Goldberg, ed. Duke University Press, 1994 Library of Congress HQ76.3.E8Q44 1994 | Dewey Decimal 306.766094
Queering the Renaissance offers a major reassessment of the field of Renaissance studies. Gathering essays by sixteen critics working within the perspective of gay and lesbian studies, this collection redraws the map of sexuality and gender studies in the Renaissance. Taken together, these essays move beyond limiting notions of identity politics by locating historically forms of same-sex desire that are not organized in terms of modern definitions of homosexual and heterosexual. The presence of contemporary history can be felt throughout the volume, beginning with an investigation of the uses of Renaissance precedents in the 1986 U.S. Supreme Court decision Bowers v. Hardwick, to a piece on the foundations of 'our' national imaginary, and an afterword that addresses how identity politics has shaped the work of early modern historians. The volume examines canonical and noncanonical texts, including highly coded poems of the fifteenth-century Italian poet Burchiello, a tale from Marguerite de Navarre's Heptameron, and Erasmus's letters to a young male acolyte. English texts provide a central focus, including works by Spenser, Shakespeare, Bacon, Donne, Beaumont and Fletcher, Crashaw, and Dryden. Broad suveys of the complex terrains of friendship and sodomy are explored in one essay, while another offers a cross-cultural reading of the discursive sites of lesbian desire.
Contributors. Alan Bray, Marcie Frank, Carla Freccero, Jonathan Goldberg, Janet Halley, Graham Hammill, Margaret Hunt, Donald N. Mager, Jeff Masten, Elizabeth Pittenger, Richard Rambuss, Alan K. Smith, Dorothy Stephens, Forrest Tyler Stevens, Valerie Traub, Michael Warner
Jonathan Goldberg University of Minnesota Press, 2002 Library of Congress PR2976.G578 2003 | Dewey Decimal 822.33
A provocative exploration of the relationship between gender, history, and Shakespeare's plays.
Over the past fifteen years, Jonathan Goldberg's wide-ranging essays have been among the most sophisticated, influential, and controversial writing about Shakespeare. He challenges the critical orthodoxy, provoking scholars to reassess both their own assumptions and those underpinning the field of Shakespeare studies. Collected in one volume for the first time, these essays offer a sustained, energetic, and rigorous examination of issues of gender and sexuality that pervade Shakespeare's plays, as well as a road map of the shifts during the past two decades in our understanding of English literature's most canonical figure.
Central to these essays are concerns about textuality as considered from a number of vantage points, including deconstructionist, psychoanalytic, and historicist. Goldberg studies most of Shakespeare's plays, giving particular emphasis to Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, and to Romeo and Juliet; he focuses throughout on the relationship between the text as material object and the reality created or reflected by that text. Among the issues he considers are the textual instability of Shakespeare's plays and the historical instabilities of gender and sexuality depicted in those plays, the construction of gender and the dehumanization implicit in treating characters as a textual production, the function of letters and other documents within the Shakespearean texts, and the correlation of sexual politics and textual desire.
Tracing a path from characters in the scriptive sense to their embodiment in characters marked by gender and sexuality, Shakespeare's Hand provides a brilliant set of inquiries into the production, critical reception, and conditions of Shakespearean texts.
Jonathan Goldberg is the Sir William Osler Professor of English Literature at The Johns Hopkins University. His previous books include Desiring Women Writing (1997), Sodometries (1992), Writing Matter (1990), and, as editor, Reclaiming Sodom (1994) and Queering the Renaissance (1994).
Shakesqueer puts the most exciting queer theorists in conversation with the complete works of William Shakespeare. Exploring what is odd, eccentric, and unexpected in the Bard’s plays and poems, these theorists highlight not only the many ways that Shakespeare can be queered but also the many ways that Shakespeare can enrich queer theory. This innovative anthology reveals an early modern playwright insistently returning to questions of language, identity, and temporality, themes central to contemporary queer theory. Since many of the contributors do not study early modern literature, Shakesqueer takes queer theory back and brings Shakespeare forward, challenging the chronological confinement of queer theory to the last two hundred years. The book also challenges conceptual certainties that have narrowly equated queerness with homosexuality. Chasing all manner of stray desires through every one of Shakespeare’s plays and poems, the contributors cross temporal, animal, theoretical, and sexual boundaries with abandon. Claiming adherence to no one school of thought, the essays consider The Winter’s Tale alongside network TV, Hamlet in relation to the death drive, King John as a history of queer theory, and Much Ado About Nothing in tune with a Sondheim musical. Together they expand the reach of queerness and queer critique across chronologies, methodologies, and bodies.
Contributors. Matt Bell, Amanda Berry, Daniel Boyarin, Judith Brown, Steven Bruhm, Peter Coviello, Julie Crawford, Drew Daniel, Mario DiGangi, Lee Edelman, Jason Edwards, Aranye Fradenburg, Carla Freccero, Daniel Juan Gil, Jonathan Goldberg, Jody Greene, Stephen Guy-Bray, Ellis Hanson, Sharon Holland, Cary Howie, Lynne Huffer, Barbara Johnson, Hector Kollias, James Kuzner , Arthur L. Little Jr., Philip Lorenz, Heather Love, Jeffrey Masten, Robert McRuer , Madhavi Menon, Michael Moon, Paul Morrison, Andrew Nicholls, Kevin Ohi, Patrick R. O’Malley, Ann Pellegrini, Richard Rambuss, Valerie Rohy, Bethany Schneider, Kathryn Schwarz, Laurie Shannon, Ashley T. Shelden, Alan Sinfield, Bruce Smith, Karl Steel, Kathryn Bond Stockton, Amy Villarejo, Julian Yates
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick Duke University Press, 1983 Library of Congress PN56.H57S43 1993 | Dewey Decimal 809.93353
Tendencies brings together for the first time the essays that have made Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick "the soft-spoken queen of gay studies" (Rolling Stone). Combining poetry, wit, polemic, and dazzling scholarship with memorial and autobiography, these essays have set new standards of passion and truthfulness for current theoretical writing. The essays range from Diderot, Oscar Wilde, and Henry James to queer kids and twelve-step programs; from "Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl" to a performance piece on Divine written with Michael Moon; from political correctness and the poetics of spanking to the experience of breast cancer in a world ravaged and reshaped by AIDS. What unites Tendencies is a vision of a new queer politics and thought that, however demanding and dangerous, can also be intent, inclusive, writerly, physical, and sometimes giddily fun.
A pioneer in queer theory and literary studies, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick brings together for the first time in Touching Feeling her most powerful explorations of emotion and expression. In essays that show how her groundbreaking work in queer theory has developed into a deep interest in affect, Sedgwick offers what she calls "tools and techniques for nondualistic thought," in the process touching and transforming such theoretical discourses as psychoanalysis, speech-act theory, Western Buddhism, and the Foucauldian "hermeneutics of suspicion."
In prose sometimes somber, often high-spirited, and always accessible and moving, Touching Feeling interrogates—through virtuoso readings of works by Henry James, J. L. Austin, Judith Butler, the psychologist Silvan Tomkins and others—emotion in many forms. What links the work of teaching to the experience of illness? How can shame become an engine for queer politics, performance, and pleasure? Is sexuality more like an affect or a drive? Is paranoia the only realistic epistemology for modern intellectuals? Ultimately, Sedgwick's unfashionable commitment to the truth of happiness propels a book as open-hearted as it is intellectually daring.
In a bold rethinking of the Hollywood blacklist and McCarthyite America, Joseph Litvak reveals a political regime that did not end with the 1950s or even with the Cold War: a regime of compulsory sycophancy, in which the good citizen is an informer, ready to denounce anyone who will not play the part of the earnest, patriotic American. While many scholars have noted the anti-Semitism underlying the House Un-American Activities Committee’s (HUAC’s) anti-Communism, Litvak draws on the work of Theodor W. Adorno, Hannah Arendt, Alain Badiou, and Max Horkheimer to show how the committee conflated Jewishness with what he calls “comic cosmopolitanism,” an intolerably seductive happiness, centered in Hollywood and New York, in show business and intellectual circles. He maintains that HUAC took the comic irreverence of the “uncooperative” witnesses as a crime against an American identity based on self-repudiation and the willingness to “name names.” Litvak proposes that sycophancy was (and continues to be) the price exacted for assimilation into mainstream American culture, not just for Jews, but also for homosexuals, immigrants, and other groups deemed threatening to American rectitude.
Litvak traces the outlines of comic cosmopolitanism in a series of performances in film and theater and before HUAC, performances by Jewish artists and intellectuals such as Zero Mostel, Judy Holliday, and Abraham Polonsky. At the same time, through an uncompromising analysis of work by informers including Jerome Robbins, Elia Kazan, and Budd Schulberg, he explains the triumph of a stoolpigeon culture that still thrives in the America of the early twenty-first century.
In this daring study of queer life and the public sphere, Eric O. Clarke examines the effects of inclusion within public culture. Departing from studies that emphasize homophobia and its mechanisms of exclusion, Virtuous Vice details how mainstream efforts to represent queers affirmatively continually fall short of full democratic enfranchisement. Clarke draws on contemporary writings along with late-eighteenth- and nineteenth-century English and European cultural history to investigate how concepts of value, representation, and homoeroticism have interacted and circulated in the West since the Enlightenment. Examining the role of eroticism in citizenship and why only normalizing constructions of homosexuality enable inclusion, Clarke reconsiders the work of Habermas and Foucault in relation to contemporary visibility politics, Kant’s moral and political theory, Marx’s analysis of value, and the sexualized dynamics of the Victorian cultural public sphere. The juxtaposition of Habermas with Foucault reveals the surprising value of reading the former in the context of queer politics and the usefulness of the theory of the public sphere for understanding contemporary identity politics and the visibility politics of the 1990s. Examining how a host of nonsexual factors impinge historically upon the constitution of sexual identities and practices, Clarke negotiates the relation between questions of publicity and categories of value. Discussions of television sitcoms (such as Ellen), marketing techniques, authenticity, and literary culture add to this daring analysis of visibility politics. As a critique of the claim that equal representation of gays and lesbians necessarily constitutes progress, this significant intervention into social theory will find enthusiastic readers in the fields of Victorian, cultural, literary, and gay and lesbian studies, as well as other fields engaged with categories of identity.
The Weather in Proust
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick Duke University Press, 2012 Library of Congress PS3569.E316W43 2012 | Dewey Decimal 814.54
The Weather in Proust gathers pieces written by the eminent critic and theorist Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick in the last decade of her life, as she worked toward a book on Proust. This book takes its title from the first essay, a startlingly original interpretation of Proust. By way of Neoplatonism, Buddhism, and the work of Melanie Klein, Sedgwick establishes the sense of refreshment and surprise that the author of the Recherche affords his readers. Proust also figures in pieces on the poetry of C. P. Cavafy, object relations, affect theory, and Sedgwick’s textile art practices. More explicitly connected to her role as a pioneering queer theorist are an exuberant attack against reactionary refusals of the work of Guy Hocquenghem and talks in which she lays out her central ideas about sexuality and her concerns about the direction of US queer theory. Sedgwick lived for more than a dozen years with a diagnosis of terminal cancer; its implications informed her later writing and thinking, as well as her spiritual and artistic practices. In the book’s final and most personal essay, she reflects on the realization of her impending death. Featuring thirty-seven color images of her art, The Weather in Proust offers a comprehensive view of Sedgwick’s later work, underscoring its diversity and coherence.
In The Wedding Complex Elizabeth Freeman explores the significance of the wedding ceremony by asking what the wedding becomes when you separate it from the idea of marriage. Freeman finds that weddings—as performances, fantasies, and rituals of transformation—are sites for imagining and enacting forms of social intimacy other than monogamous heterosexuality. Looking at the history of Anglo-American weddings and their depictions in American literature and popular culture from the antebellum era to the present, she reveals the cluster of queer desires at the heart of the "wedding complex"—longings not for marriage necessarily but for public forms of attachment, ceremony, pageantry, and celebration.
Freeman draws on queer theory and social history to focus on a range of texts where weddings do not necessarily lead to legal marriage but instead reflect yearnings for intimate arrangements other than long-term, state-sanctioned, domestic couplehood. Beginning with a look at the debates over gay marriage, she proceeds to consider literary works by Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Faulkner, Carson McCullers, Vladimir Nabokov, and Edgar Allan Poe, along with such Hollywood films as Father of the Bride, The Graduate, and The Godfather. She also discusses less well-known texts such as Su Friedrich’s experimental film First Comes Love and the off-Broadway, interactive dinner play Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding.
Offering bold new ways to imagine attachment and belonging, and the public performance and recognition of social intimacy, The Wedding Complex is a major contribution to American studies, queer theory, and cultural studies.
Willa Cather and Others
Jonathan Goldberg Duke University Press, 2001 Library of Congress PS3505.A87Z647 2001 | Dewey Decimal 813.52
After many years as one of the premier scholars of English Renaissance literature, Jonathan Goldberg turns his attention to the work of American novelist Willa Cather. With a focus on Cather’s artistic principle of “the thing not named,” Willa Cather and Others illuminates the contradictions and complexities inherent in notions of identity and shows how her fiction transforms the very categories—regarding gender, sexuality, race, and class—around which most recent Cather scholarship has focused. The “others” referred to in the title are women, for the most part Cather’s contemporaries, whose artistic projects allow for points of comparison with Cather. They include the Wagnerian diva Olive Fremstad, renowned for her category-defying voice; Blair Niles, an ethnographer and novelist of jazz-age Harlem and the prisons of New Guinea; Laura Gilpin, photographer of the American Southwest; and Pat Barker, whose Regeneration trilogy places World War I writers—and questions of sexuality and gender—at its center. In the process of studying these women and their work, Goldberg forms innovative new insights into a wide range of Cather’s celebrated works, from O Pioneers! and My Ántonia to her later books The Song of the Lark, One of Ours, The Professor’s House, Death Comes for the Archbishop, and Sapphira and the Slave Girl. By applying his unique talent to the study of Cather’s literary genius, Jonathan Goldberg makes a significant and new contribution to the study of American literature and queer studies.
What does camp have to do with capitalism? How have queer men created a philosophy of commodity culture? Why is cinema central to camp? With chapters on the films of Vincente Minnelli, Andy Warhol, Kenneth Anger, and John Waters, Working Like a Homosexual responds to these questions by arguing that post–World War II gay male subcultures have fostered their own ways not only of consuming mass culture but of producing it as well. With a special emphasis on the tensions between high and low forms of culture and between good and bad taste, Matthew Tinkcom offers a new vision of queer politics and aesthetics that is critically engaged with Marxist theories of capitalist production. He argues that camp—while embracing the cheap, the scorned, the gaudy, the tasteless, and what Warhol called “the leftovers” of artistic production—is a mode of intellectual production and a critical philosophy of modernity as much as it is an expression of a dissident sex/gender difference. From Minnelli’s musicals and the “everyday glamour” of Warhol’s films to Anger’s experimental films and Waters’s “trash aesthetic,” Tinkcom demonstrates how camp allowed these gay men to design their own relationship to labor and to history in a way that protected them from censure even as they struggled to forge a role for themselves within a system of “value” that failed to recognize them.