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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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Alpesh Kantilal Patel

Bennett summarizes several prevailing definitions of affect and what links them together as follows: ‘Whether we think of affect in the term proposed by the American twentieth century psychologist Silvan Tompkins, as a subjectively originating energy that attaches itself to objects; or in the transsubject terms of [French philosopher Gilles] Deleuze-inspired media studies, as a force within media itself; or, indeed, in [French psychoanalyst André] Green’s … terms that cast affect as an aspect of the drives with a propensity to hook onto things real and imagined – we can

in Productive failure