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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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Writing American sexual histories
Author:

The archive has assumed a new significance in the history of sex, and this book visits a series of such archives, including the Kinsey Institute’s erotic art; gay masturbatory journals in the New York Public Library; the private archive of an amateur pornographer; and one man’s lifetime photographic dossier on Baltimore hustlers. The subject topics covered are wide-ranging: the art history of homoeroticism; casual sex before hooking-up; transgender; New York queer sex; masturbation; pornography; sex in the city. The duality indicated by the book’s title reflects its themes. It is an experiment in writing an American sexual history that refuses the confines of identity sexuality studies, spanning the spectrum of queer, trans, and the allegedly ‘normal’. What unites this project is a fascination with sex at the margins, refusing the classificatory frameworks of heterosexuality and homosexuality, and demonstrating gender and sexual indecision and flexibility. And the book is also an exploration of the role of the archive in such histories. The sex discussed is located both in the margins of the archives, what has been termed the counterarchive, but also, importantly, in the pockets of recorded desire located in the most traditional and respectable repositories. The sexual histories in this book are those where pornography and sexual research are indistinguishable; where personal obsession becomes tomorrow’s archive. The market is potentially extensive: those interested in American studies, sexuality studies, contemporary history, the history of sex, psychology, anthropology, sociology, gender studies, queer studies, trans studies, pornography studies, visual studies, museum studies, and media studies.

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Queer theory, literature and the politics of sameness
Author:

In its contributions to the study of material social differences, queer theoretical writing has mostly assumed that any ideas which embody 'difference' are valuable. More than this, where it is invoked in contemporary theory, queerness is often imagined as synonymous with difference itself. This book uncovers an alternative history in queer cultural representation. Through engagement with works from a range of queer literary genres from across the long twentieth century – fin-de-siècle aestheticism, feminist speculative fiction, lesbian middle-brow writing, and the tradition of the stud file – the book elucidates a number of formal and thematic attachments to ideas that have been denigrated in queer theory for their embodiment of sameness: uselessness, normativity, reproduction and reductionism. Exploring attachments to these ideas in queer culture is also the occasion for a broader theoretical intervention: Same Old suggests, counterintuitively, that the aversion they inspire may be of a piece with how homosexuality has been denigrated in the modern West as a misguided orientation towards sameness. Combining queer cultural and literary history, sensitive close readings and detailed genealogies of theoretical concepts, Same Old encourages a fundamental rethinking of some of the defining positions in queer thought.

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
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Peter Barry

landmark ‘Sexual Dissidence’ MA course. A special issue of the journal Textual Practice (Vol. 30, No. 6, 2016) was devoted to Sinfield's work. Both the Centre and the MA are now (2017) strongly multidisciplinary, crossing into media studies, cultural studies, and sociology, as is the whole field of queer studies. Also in 1990, Greg Woods was appointed lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, teaching courses that included ‘Contemporary Lesbian and Gay Cultures’, ‘Post-War Gay Literature’, and ‘Queering the Modern’. In 1998 he became Professor of Contemporary Lesbian

in Beginning theory (fourth edition)
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Guillaume Dustan and Erik Rémès
Victoria Best
and
Martin Crowley

edited volume on gay literature, Dustan writes: ‘L’art, j’en ai jamais rien eu à foutre […] C’est ma vie qui m’intéresse’ ( 2003 : 383). [‘As for art, I’ve never given a flying fuck […] What interests me is my life.’] If gay literature has a specificity, he claims, it would be here, in this autobiographical immediacy: ‘La littérature homosexuelle dit je. Ce faisant elle se donne pour sujet le sens même de la vie le sens de

in The new pornographies
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‘An autobiography at forty’
Alexandra Parsons

Lesbian Literary Heritage: A Reader's Companion to the Writers and Their Works, from Antiquity to the Present , ed. Claude J. Summers (New York: Routledge, 2002), pp. 405–6 (p. 405). 4 Quoted in Evans et al., ‘ A Finger in the Fishes Mouth ’. 5 Gregory Woods, A History of Gay Literature: The Male

in Luminous presence
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A Saint’s Testament
Alexandra Parsons

–9. 7 Marlowe, Edward II , pp. 36–7, 4:392–8. 8 Oscar Wilde quoted in Merlin Holland, The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde (London: Fourth Estate, 2003), p. 213. 9 Woods, A History of Gay Literature , p. 4

in Luminous presence
Rowland Wymer

Collection I, Box 5, Item 4. 25 Jarman, Dancing Ledge , p. 202. 26 Jim Ellis, ‘Conjuring The Tempest : Derek Jarman and the Spectacle of Redemption’, Gay Literature Quarterly , 7:2 (2001), 265–84 (p. 265). 27 BFI Jarman Collection

in Derek Jarman
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David Louis Bowie’s New York diaries, 1978–93
Barry Reay

’, p. 236. 20 Bowie Diaries, 8 February 1986. 21 For example, ibid., 31 October 1978; 24 September, 7 October, and 30  December 1979; 13, 17, 19, and 30 August 1980. For an example of monthly totals, see the volume for 1980: J20 F26 M22 A22 M24 J20 J19 A16 S29 O29 N23 D20. 22 Ibid., 29 April 1979. 23 For the privacy reasons discussed earlier I cannot name these people. 24 The best discussion of this is by S. Seidman, Romantic Longings: Love in America, 1830–1980 (New York, 1991), pp. 176–91. See also B. Gove, Cruising Culture: Promiscuity, Desire and American Gay

in Sex in the archives