Intimacy, Shame, and the Closet in James Baldwin’s
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.
Luminous presence: Derek Jarman's life-writing is the first book to analyse the prolific writing of queer icon Derek Jarman. He blended visionary queer politics with experimental self-representation and consistently created art with material drawn from his own life, using it as a generative activist force. Although he is well known for his avant-garde filmmaking, his garden and his AIDS activism, he is also the author of over a dozen books, many of which are autobiographical. Much of Jarmanʹs exploration of post-war queer identity and imaginative response to HIV/AIDS can be found in his books, such as the lyrical AIDS diaries Modern Nature and Smiling in Slow Motion, the associative book of colour Chroma, the critique of homophobia At Your Own Risk, and the activist text published alongside the film Edward II. The remarkable range and depth of his writing has yet to be fully explored by critics. Luminous Presence fills this gap. Spanning his career, Alexandra Parsons shows that Jarman’s self-reflexive response to the HIV/AIDS crisis was critical in changing the cultural terms of queer representation from the 1980s onwards. She reads Jarman's self-representations across his literary and visual works as a queer utopian project that places emphasis not on the finished product, but on the process of its production. Luminous Presence examines Jarmanʹs books in broadly chronological order so as to tell the story of his developing experimentation with self-representation. The book is aimed at students, scholars and general readers interested in queer history, literature, art and film.
strategy as compelling ‘the reader to reconstruct a more heterogeneous worldview’.
Previous research has primarily discussed Sinisalo's novel as queerliterature because of its depiction of gay relationships, or as fantasy fiction.
I argue, however, that the novel's sometimes very dark atmosphere, its focus on species and on the different connections between monstrosity and ecology that gradually unfold, both in the story itself and in the numerous excerpts from