Search results

You are looking at 1 - 2 of 2 items for :

  • "gay literature" x
  • Manchester Literature Studies x
  • Refine by access: All content x
Clear All
Open Access (free)
Intimacy, Shame, and the Closet in James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room
Monica B. Pearl

This essay’s close interrogation of James Baldwin’s 1956 novel Giovanni’s Room allows us to see one aspect of how sexual shame functions: it shows how shame exposes anxiety not only about the feminizing force of homosexuality, but about how being the object of the gaze is feminizing—and therefore shameful. It also shows that the paradigm of the closet is not the metaphor of privacy and enclosure on one hand and openness and liberation on the other that it is commonly thought to be, but instead is a site of illusory control over whether one is available to be seen and therefore humiliated by being feminized. Further, the essay reveals the paradox of denial, where one must first know the thing that is at the same time being disavowed or denied. The narrative requirements of fictions such as Giovanni’s Room demonstrate this, as it requires that the narrator both know, in order to narrate, and not know something at the same time.

James Baldwin Review
Queer debates and contemporary connections
Kaye Mitchell

emergence of gay fiction as ‘an identifiable and important literary category’ in the 1970s and 1980s.15 It has frequently been argued that this fiction has played a vital role in the constitution of gay identities and gay community. For example, Kenneth Plummer suggests that gay culture (including literature) works to ‘make gay personhood tighter and ever more plausible’.16 In AIDS Literature and Gay Identity, Pearl claims that, historically, ‘gay literature reflected back gay culture to a gay reading public, often made up of individuals for whom gay fiction was the only

in Alan Hollinghurst