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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
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
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
Wilde’s Art
Andrew Smith

between gender and sexual orientation. It is within the epistemological space provided by the sexologists that Wildes writings avant la lettre operate. 11 The debate about homosexuality during the period is usefully contextualised by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s critique in her Epistemology of the Closet (1991). In her reading of Nietzsche she raises the question of gender, one which radically

in Victorian demons
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
Abstract only
Jack Smith, Ruth St. Denis, and the dance of gestures
Paisid Aramphongphan

experience through an “informalizable excess in sexual and personal relations in films.” Such an excess in this scenario has the potential to produce “nonformalizable, intensely affective experience” beyond the bounds of the capitalist system of exchange value, of which business-as-usual orientalism is part. 33 To the question, then, of what we are to make of Jack Smith’s orientalism, the critical moves in current thinking is to attribute what Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick would call a paranoid critical position to Smith’s work itself. A paranoid mode of critique deconstructs

in Horizontal together
Abstract only
De- contextualizing Marxism
Bogdan Popa

criminal past. But, as Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick told us, shame is a queer affect because of its capacity for transformation: shame is a “free radical, that attaches to and permanently intensifies and alters the meaning of – of almost anything.” 5 From the alterations of conventional Marxism-Leninism, a method of decontextualizing Marxism can bring forth an alternative to US-centric queer theory

in De-centering queer theory
Abstract only
Queering the Gothic
William Hughes
and
Andrew Smith

read as a tale of dangerous queer sexuality. In particular, the work of queer theorists, such as Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, has led scholars working within the fields of both Gothic and Queer Studies to read this text as one that is particularly concerned with desire between men. 12 Building upon this critical trend, Mair Rigby in ‘“Do you share my madness?”: Frankenstein’s queer Gothic’ (Chapter 3

in Queering the Gothic
Royce Mahawatte

’s attempts to grasp at him as he is of his own unknown origins. It is possible to read a ‘Jewish panic’ alongside an erotic one: the so-called ‘homosexual panic’ that has powered so much of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s work. In her final novel, George Eliot created an eroticism of fear around Daniel and his Jewish identity, one that eventually becomes quite explicit. When viewed against the other plot in the

in Queering the Gothic
Abstract only
Andrew Ginger
and
Geraldine Lawless

); Joshua Goode, Impurity of Blood: Defining Race in Spain, 1870–1930 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2009); Joan Torres-Pau, Asia en la España del siglo XIX. Literatos, viajeros, intelectuales y diplomáticos ante Oriente (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2013). 9 Spain in the nineteenth century 21 Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, ‘Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading; or, You’re So Paranoid, You Probably Think This Introduction Is About You’, in Novel Gazing: Queer Readings in Fiction, ed. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1997), 1

in Spain in the nineteenth century