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James Baldwin and the "Closeted-ness" of American Power
David Jones

This article reads the work of James Baldwin in dialogue with that of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. Taking its cue from Baldwin’s claim that Americans “live […] with something in [their] closet” that they “pretend […] is not there,” it explores his depiction of a United States characterized by the “closeted-ness” of its racial discourse. In doing so, the article draws on Sedgwick’s work concerning how the containment of discourses pertaining to sexuality hinges on the closeting of non-heteronormative sexual practices. Reconceptualizing Sedgwick’s ideas in the context of a black, queer writer like Baldwin, however, problematizes her own insistence on the “historical gay specificity” of the epistemology she traces. To this end, this article does not simply posit a racial counterpart to the homosexual closet. Rather, reflecting Baldwin’s insistence that “the sexual question and the racial question have always been entwined,” I highlight here the interpretive possibilities opened up by intersectional analyses that view race, sexuality, and national identity as coextensive, reciprocal epistemologies.  

James Baldwin Review
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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
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Notes on Ackroyd & Harvey ecocriticism and praxis
Eve Ropek

6 Nature matters: notes on Ackroyd & Harvey, ecocriticism and praxis Eve Ropek A small painting from the 1950s hangs on a friend’s wall. A Welsh landscape, little sky is visible; the bold black simplified shape of a train cuts across the painting, whooshing through the greens. One could describe the vigorous way the paint has been applied, or place the work in art-historical context. Considering what the work might reflect of Homo sapiens’s relationship to the land, sky and co-creatures – the ‘natural’ world we inhabit – brings another perspective. Ecocriticism

in Extending ecocriticism
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Beatrice Grimshaw and the commercial woman writer
Jane Mahony and Eve Patten

5 ‘Breaking away’: Beatrice Grimshaw and the commercial woman writer Jane Mahony and Eve Patten I wanted a life of adventure – you can’t tell how the longing for it used to pull at my very heartstrings! I wanted to live for myself and work out my own life; to be – well, what you would call a New Woman, I suppose. You don’t need to know how the passion for absolute freedom sometimes takes hold of a girl.1 T hese words are voiced by the character of Eva Rivington, the young wife of ‘Ireland’s greatest novelist’, in Beatrice Grimshaw’s 1897 romantic literary

in Irish women’s writing, 1878–1922
Denis Flannery

was your year. Setting out to explain the workings of the closet as a major formative force in Western culture, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick had surprising recourse then to Esther, your biblical drama of 1689. And Alan Hollinghurst, the late twentieth century’s most striking new novelist of something called ‘gay life’, found time in 1990, between the publication of The Swimming-Pool Library (1988) and The Folding Star (1994), to translate what became known as your ‘most violent and most frightening play’, Bajazet (1672).2 Hollinghurst’s version, directed by Peter Eyre, was

in Alan Hollinghurst
Morality, mortality and masculinity in Sabbath’s Theater
David Brauner

published on the eve of the publication of Portnoy’s Complaint, Albert Goldman traced the origins of the novel to the childhood larks of Roth and his peers. On their way to Hebrew School, writes Goldman, ‘those highly regimented Jewish kids could . . . afford to be bad. Being bad and being funny were much the same thing in Roth’s mind’ (Goldman 1969: 62). Many years later Alan Cooper reflected that ‘Roth wants to explore what it is like to want to be bad – that is, acquisitive and carnal – when one is essentially good – that is, restrained by moral upbringing and cultural

in Philip Roth
Carl Lavery

insecurities about France’s ‘racial identity’ on the eve of decolonisation – a moment when the country was faced with the prospect of increased numbers of immigrant workers entering the métropole from the ex-colonies. I do this by arguing that The Blacks uses the heterotopic aspects of theatre to contest the exclusionary tactics adopted by the French State in its perverse and impossible attempt to keep France white. In keeping with the utopianism that Genet accords the artwork, I explain how the wound inflicted upon whiteness by The Blacks offers the possibility for a

in The politics of Jean Genet’s late theatre
Simon Malpas and Andrew Taylor

perspective, he assures Dixon, ‘one can apprehend all at once the entire plexity of possible journeys’ (MD 505). As we will argue with regard to Against the Day, Pynchon’s writing is preoccupied with interrogating the impulse to imagine alternative possibilities of spatial and temporal existence, in opposition to those forces organising the social and political realm. Writing of colonial America on the eve of its reconstitution into the United States, Mason & Dixon presents a moment of transition in which the New World’s exceptionalism is tested and, at times tragically

in Thomas Pynchon
Louise Tondeur

within in the phrase itself. First of all, the Eagleton pubic hair quotation is reminiscent of another one, the debate around which is discussed by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. It was the title of her paper ‘Jane Austen and the masturbating girl’ which, Kosofsky Sedgwick relates, caused the reaction described at the beginning of the essay of the same name in Tendencies : ‘The phrase itself is already evidence. Rodger Kimball in his treatise on educational “corruption,” Tenured Radicals , cites the title “Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl

in The last taboo
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Gender and a new politics in Achebe
Elleke Boehmer

’s Anthills of the Savannah (1987) remains the culmination point of his achievement as a writer of fiction, as well as being an elaboration of his earlier novelistic interests. The novel is, as Ben Okri has remarked, Achebe’s ‘most complex and his wisest book to date’.2 Dealing in coded terms with Nigeria’s calcified power-elite, and the bankruptcy of its post-independence nepotistic politics, Anthills of the Savannah is in many respects a sequel to the penultimate novel A Man of the People (1966), which explored themes of political corruption and military takeover on the eve

in Stories of women