Hispanisms and Homosexualities

Book Pages: 336 Illustrations: Published: October 1998

Cultural Studies, Gender and Sexuality > LGBTQ Studies, Latin American Studies

A man masquerading as a lesbian in Spain’s Golden Age fiction. A hermaphrodite’s encounters with the Spanish Inquisition. Debates about virility in the national literature of postrevolutionary Mexico. The work of contemporary artists Reinaldo Arenas, Severo Sarduy, and María Luisa Bemberg. The public persona of Pedro Zamora, former star of MTV’s The Real World. Despite an enduring queer presence in Hispanic literatures and cultures, most scholars have avoided the specter of sexual dissidence in the Spanish-speaking world.
In Hispanisms and Homosexualities, editors Sylvia Molloy and Robert Irwin bring together a group of essays that advance Hispanic studies and gay and lesbian studies by calling into question what is meant by the words Hispanic and homosexual. The fourteen contributors to this volume not only offer queer readings of Spanish and Latin American texts and performances, they also undermine a univocal sense of homosexual identities and practices. Taking on formations of national identity and sexuality; the politics of visibility and outing; the intersections of race, sexuality, and imperial discourse; the status of transvestism and posing; and a postmodern aesthetic of camp and kitsch, these essays from both established and emerging scholars provide a more complex and nuanced view of related issues involving nationality, ethnicity, and sexuality in the Hispanic world.
Hispanisms and Homosexualities offers the most sophisticated critical and theoretical work to date in Hispanic and queer studies. It will be an essential text for all those engaged with the complexities of ethnic, cultural, and sexual subjectivities.

Contributors. Daniel Balderston, Emilie Bergmann, Israel Burshatin, Brad Epps, Mary S. Gossy, Robert Irwin, Agnes I. Lugo-Ortiz, Sylvia Molloy, Oscar Montero, José Esteban Muñoz, José Quiroga, Rubén Ríos Avila, B. Sifuentes Jáuregui, Paul Julian Smith


Hispanisms and Homosexualities is an important collection of essays on the intersection of ‘Hispanism’ (as a cultural and linguistic orientation that goes well beyond any simple relationship to Spanish, or to Spain) and ‘homosexuality’ as a sexual orientation undergoing constant improvisation. . . . The essays are uniformly excellent, and will reward any discretionary reader with invaluable information about a history and a culture whose complexities cannot be reduced to the kind of easy fetishism that reigns in many Gay clubs on ‘Latino night.’ ” — Washington Blade

Hispanisms displays a remarkable internal coherence often rare in essay collections. . . . [T]he essays dialogue. . . in productive and enlightening ways. An accomplishment no doubt due to the excellent work of the editors who have coalesced around their project a number of mostly eloquent, erudite, and convincing essays. . . . [A] forceful tool for Hipanists committed to widening the scope and import of our field and to conversing across traditional periodizations and geographic demarcations. Most importantly, Molloy and Irwin’s anthology behooves Hispanists to reckon with queer readings in a productive, engaging manner so that we may better serve our students and our field.” — Gema P. Pérez-Sánchez , Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies

“[A] fascinating collection of essays covering different aspects of current lesbian and gay scholarship in the area of Hispanic Studies. . . . To its academic rigour and theoretical sophistication the collection offers distinctively queer insights on a number of previously unexplored areas both within and without the canon of Hispanic studies. Moreover, its thoughtful and often disquieting reflections on ‘identity politics,’ as the editors argue, serve to destabilize univocal constructions of mainstream homosexuality, which may be as disquieting to the resistant reader of traditional Hispanisms as it is for queer Hispanists.” — David Vilaseca , Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

“[A] volume as strong in its defence and revitalization of new queer thought through reconfigurations of its title’s twinned terms as in its attacks on the homophobic and xenophobic exclusions still exercised from within ‘Hispanism.’ ” — Chris Perriam , Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánícos

“[D]estabiliz[es] the traditional assumptions and dogmatic approaches which have, for many years, characterized Hispanic studies. Readers in general, but especially students, will certainly benefit from the critical stance of these discussions and most importantly from the theoretical, cultural, and political implications of the use of the plural in the volume’s very title.” — Gustavo Geirola , Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

“[T]his excellent volume of essays should help very nicely to demonstrate that the entire canon of Hispanic literature is now on the queer critical agenda.” — David William Foster, World Literature Today

“[T]houghtful, complex, sometimes disturbing. . . . The anthology makes a crucial contribution to the fields of Latin American and Iberian studies and Gay and Lesbian Studies by erasing some of the disciplinary distinctions between those very fields.” — Laura J. Beard , Intertexts

“A collection of essays that makes compelling reading on many previously unexplored Hispanic aspects of gay and lesbian scholarship. . . . The contributions are both thoughtful and rigorous, bearing witness to the multiplicity of homosexual meanings and experiences in the Hispanic world, successfully covering aspects that are rarely debated and expanding upon the concept of identity politics.” — British Bulletin of Publications

“Readers in general, but especially students, will certainly benefit from the critical stance of these discussions, and most importantly from the theoretical, cultural and political implications of the use of the plural in the volume’s very title.” — Gustavo Geirola , Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

“The volume maintains the critical edge of the difference and challenge of homosexualities in the plural, not reducible to any single historical or cultural meaning and refusing as well a simple, singular notion of Hispanism. . . . [A] high level of research and writing. . . .” — Amy Kaminsky , Latin American Research Review

“This volume effects a timely and highly significant dialogue between queer theory, gender and feminist studies, Peninsular and Latin American scholarship, and aesthetic history, and should be an invaluable resource for scholars in these fields.” — Leora Lev , South Atlantic Review

"[T]his is one good place to begin to rethink Hispanic literature from a queer perspective. More important, its contributors are already the nucleus of a community of queer scholars who will have much to contribute to rereadings of Hispanic literature." — , Revista de Estudios Hispanicos

Hispanisms and Homosexualities makes a lasting contribution to the fields of Spanish and Latin American literary studies as well as to lesbian and gay studies. Original and provocative, it provides an impressive display of the new scholarship in these areas.” — David Román, University of Southern California

“By problematizing both ‘hispanisms’ and ‘homosexualities,’ this collection goes beyond the mere application of queer theory to Hispanic studies; it offers a series of meditations out of which both fields emerge enriched.” — Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé, Fordham University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Sylvia Molloy is the Albert Schweitzer Professor of Humanities at New York University. She is the author of numerous books including Signs of Borges, also published by Duke University Press.

Robert Irwin is Assistant Professor of Spanish at Tulane University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments vii

Introduction / Sylvia Molloy and Robert McKee Irwin ix

I. Gender at Loss

Interrogating Hermaphroditism in Sixteenth-Century Spain / Israel Burshatin 3

Skirting the Question: Lesbians and María de Zayas / Mary S. Gossy 19

The Legend of Jorge Cuesta: The Perils of Alchemy and The Paranoia of Gender / Robert McKee Irwin 29

II. Nationalism and Desire

Poetry, Revolution, Homophobia: Polemics from the Mexican Revolution / Daniel Balderston 57

Nationalism, Male Anxiety, and the Lesbian Body in Puerto Rican Narrative / Agnes I. Lugo-Ortiz 76

Caribbean Dislocations: Arenas and Ramos Otero in New York / Rubén Ríos Avila 101

III. Queers and/in Performance

The Swishing of Gender: Homographetic Marks in Lazarillo de Tormes / B. Sifuentes Jáuregui 123

The Poetics of Posing / Sylvia Molloy 141

The Signifying Queen: Critical Notes from a Latino Queer / Oscar Montero 161

Pedro Zamora's Real World of Counterpublicity: Performing an Ethics of the Self / José Esteban Muñoz 175

IV. Desire and Representation

Sexual Terror: Identity and Fragmentation in Juan Goytisolo's Paisajes después de la batalla / Brad Epps 197

Abjection and Ambiguity: Lesbian Desire in Bemberg's Yo, la peor de todas / Emilie Bergmann 229

Cuban Homosexualities: On the Beach with Néstor Almendros and Reinaldo Arenas / Paul Julian Smith 248

Virgilio Peñera: On the Weight of the Insular Flesh / José Quiroga 269

Works Cited 287

Contributors 309

Index 313
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2198-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2181-1
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