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Homotopia?: Gay Identity, Sameness & the Politics of Desire

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ISBN: 9780692606247 Year: Pages: 154 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0124.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Social Sciences
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:37
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Do opposites attract? Is desire lack? These assumptions have become so much a part of the ways in which we conceive desire that they are rarely questioned. Yet, what do they say about how homosexuality — a desire for the same — is viewed in our culture? This book takes as its starting point the absence of a suitable theory of homosexual desire, a theory not predicated on such heterological assumptions. It is an investigation into how such assumptions acquired meaning within homosexual discourse, and as such is offered as an interruption within the hegemony of desire. As such, homosexual desire constitutes the biggest challenge to Western binaric thinking in that it dissolves the sacred distinctions between Same/Other, Desire/Identification, subject/object, male/female. Homotopia? (composed in 1997 but not published until now) investigates the development of a homosexual discourse at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, and reveals how that discourse worked within heterosexualized models of desire. Andre Gide’s Corydon, Edward Carpenter’s The Intermediate Sex, and John Addington Symond’s A Problem in Modern Ethics are all pseudo-scientific texts written by non-medical men of letters, and were, in their time, highly influential on the emerging homosexual discourse. The fourth text, the twenty-odd pages of Marcel Proust’s novel A la recherché de temps perdu usually referred to as ‘La Race maudite,’ is the most problematic, in that it appeared under the guise of fiction. But Proust originally planned this ‘essay-within-a-novel’ to be published separately. In it, he offers a pseudo-scientific theory of male-male love. These four texts were published between the years 1891 and 1924, an historical moment when the concept of a distinct homosexual identity took shape within a medicalized discourse centered on essential identity traits and characteristics, and they all work within the rubric of science, contributing to a discourse which saw the human race divided into two distinct categories: heterosexuals and homosexuals. How did this division come about, and what were its effects? How was this discourse sustained, and how were the meanings it produced received? For men whose erotic interest was exclusively in other men, what did it mean to see oneself and one’s desires as the outcome of biology rather than moral lapse?

Still Thriving: On the Importance of Aranye Fradenburg

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ISBN: 9780988234031 Year: Pages: 88 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0099.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:39
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he work of L.O. Aranye Fradenburg, especially her psychoanalytic criticism of Chaucer, and her formulations of discontinuist historical approaches to the Middle Ages, has been extremely influential within medieval studies for the past 20 or so years. More recently she has been focusing on more broad defenses of the humanities, especially with regard to the valuable role of literary studies relative to the arts of everyday living, eudaimonia [flourishing], ethical community, and well-being, and also on psychoanalysis itself as a “liberal art.” Relationality, intersubjectivity, aliveness, resilience, care of the self and also of others, adaptive flexibility, playfulness, shared attention, companionship, healing, and thriving seem, increasingly, to be the key watchwords and concerns of Fradenburg’s work, and at the same time, the so-called “literary” mode is still central to these concerns, such that, as Fradenburg has written, “Interpretation and relationality depend on one another because all relationships are unending processes of interpretation and expression, listening and signifying. In turn, sentience assists relationality: we can’t thrive and probably can’t survive without minds open to possibility, capable of sensing and interpreting the tiniest shifts in, e.g., pitch and tone.” This small volume features short essays and personal reflections on the importance of Fradenburg’s career, as teacher and scholar, and also on the valuable role(s) that her work, and medieval studies more generally, has played and might still play in the defense of the humanities as essential to living and thriving.

Crush

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ISBN: 9780615978956 Year: Pages: 120 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0063.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Social Sciences
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:42
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In Crush, a stunning collection of erotic poems and queer meditations delineating Stockton’ and Gilson’s mutual crushing on each other, but also all of the ways in which, sweetly and also sadly, affection ameliorates the anguishes that, despite our deepest devotions, are never constant, Stockton and Gilson write, In Aranye Fradenburg’s words, Shakespeare’s sonnets describe “the love you feel for inappropriate objects: for someone thirty years older, thirty years younger. The kind of love that makes a fool, a pervert, a stalker out of you.” Let’s start here, for much of this description applies to Petrarchan conventions as well. Let’s start here, with this affective entrance into the poems and the impossibility of dispossessing the other’s voice in the manufacture of one’s own machine. Let’s start here, with a vision of poems as indexes of crushes rendered inappropriate, unhealthy by some gradation of difference and level of intensity. With the question of what distinguishes a crush from love if both turn you into a different self. Under oak trees and sunlight, in coffee shops and locker rooms, steam rooms and seminar rooms, and in conversation with Milton, Shakespeare, Frank O’Hara, Narcissus, Allen Ginsberg, Jacques Derrida, Aranye Fradenburg, Mary Magdalene, Freud, Oscar Wilde, José Esteban Muñoz, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Elton John, and Prince, among other poets, harlots, saints, and scholars, Stockton and Gilson explore the ways in which friendship, desire, falling, swerving, possession, holding, faggoting, falling, longing, poeming, and crushing open the self to queerly utopic, if also difficult, deflections — other, more improbable modes of being, as Foucault might have said.

Sappho: Fragments

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ISBN: 9781947447974 9781947447981 Year: Pages: 168 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0238.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-03-26 11:21:03
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In Sappho, Jonathan Goldberg takes as his model the fragmentary state in which this sublime poet’s writing survives, a set of compositional and theoretical resources for living and thinking in more fully erotic ways in the present and the future. This book thus offers fragmentary commentary on disparate (Sapphic) works, such as the comics of Alison Bechdel, the paintings and cartoons of Leonardo da Vinci, Robert Reid-Pharr’s “Living as a Lesbian,” Madeleine de Scudéry’s Histoire de Sapho, John Donne’s “Sapho to Philaenis,” Todd Haynes and Patricia Highsmith’s Carol, Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, writings by Willa Cather, and the paintings and writings of Simeon Solomon, among other works. Goldberg challenges readers to imagine and experience what Sarah Orne Jewett named the “country of our friendship,” a love both exceedingly strange and compellingly familiar. Just as Sappho’s coinage “bitter-sweet” describes eros as inextricably contradictory — two things at once, one thing after another, each interrupting, complicating, each other — the juxtapositions in this book mean to continually call into question categories of identity and identification in the wake of a quintessential woman writer from Lesbos. Over and over again, Goldberg’s Sappho: ]fragments inquires into how race, sexuality, and gender cross each other. The theoretical genius of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick presides over this set of meditations and mediations on likeness and desire. Rather than homogenizing its many subjects, it invites the reader to explore and inhabit new transits within and through what Audre Lorde called “the very house of difference.”

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