Novel Gazing

Queer Readings in Fiction

Book Pages: 528 Illustrations: 1 b&w photograph Published: December 1997

Cultural Studies > Affect Theory, Gender and Sexuality > Queer Theory, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism

Novel Gazing is the first collection of queer criticism on the history of the novel. The contributors to this volume navigate new territory in literary theory with essays that implicitly challenge the "hermeneutic of suspicion" widespread in current critical theory. In a stunning introductory essay, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick delineates the possibilities for a criticism that would be "reparative" rather than cynical or paranoid. The startlingly imaginative essays in the volume explore new critical practices that can weave the pleasures and disorientations of reading into the fabric of queer analyses.
Through discussions of a diverse array of British, French, and American novels—including major canonical novels, best-sellers, children’s fiction, and science fiction—these essays explore queer worlds of taste, texture, joy, and ennui, focusing on such subjects as flogging, wizardry, exorcism, dance, Zionist desire, and Internet sexuality. Interpreting the works of authors as diverse as Benjamin Constant, Toni Morrison, T. H. White, and William Gibson, along with canonical queer modernists such as James, Proust, Woolf, and Cather, contributors reveal the wealth of ways in which selves and communities succeed in extracting sustenance from the objects of a culture whose avowed desire has often been not to sustain them. The dramatic reframing that these essays perform will make the significance of Novel Gazing extend beyond the scope of queer studies to literary criticism in general.

Contributors. Stephen Barber, Renu Bora, Anne Chandler, James Creech, Tyler Curtain, Jonathan Goldberg, Joseph Litvak, Michael Lucey, Jeff Nunokawa, Cindy Patton, Jacob Press, Robert F. Reid-Pharr, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Melissa Solomon, Kathryn Bond Stockton, John Vincent, Maurice Wallace, Barry Weller


“Sedgwick is such a powerful critic of literary studies and of sexuality because she recognizes where interpretive possibilities have been foreclosed and points to how they might be reopened.” — Andrew Elfenbein, Modern Philology

“The essays in Novel Gazing represent a sea change in queer literary studies.” — Sarah E. Chinn, Signs

“This invaluable and substantial collection opens with a typically spirited essay on ‘paranoid reading’ by Sedgwick, whose own pathbreaking analysis of the ‘paranoid Gothic’ has transformed how we understand sexuality in that particular genre. . . . The impressive essays that follow feature several discussions addressing nineteenth-century literature, including Jeff Nunokawa on ennui in Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and John Vincent on Swinburne’s Lesbia Brandon.” — Nineteenth-Century Literature

“This is brilliant. . . and it represents some brilliant critics at their best. These essays illustrate a different and immensely attractive discursive mode. I know of no work more resonant or anywhere near as generous. Beyond that, it marks Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s first move into reparative criticism—and that is a momentous event. ” — James R. Kincaid, University of Southern California


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick is Distinguished Professor of English, CUNY Graduate Center. Books she has authored include Fat Art/Thin Art and Tendencies. She has edited or coedited numerous volumes, including Shame and Its Sisters: A Silvan Tomkins Reader and Gary In Your Pocket: Stories and Notebooks of Gary Fisher, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments vii

Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading; or, You're So Paranoid, You Probably Think This Introduction is About You / Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick 1

Part I. Digital Senses

Prophylactics and Brains: Beloved in the Cybernetic Age of AIDS / Kathryn Bond Stockton 41

Strange Gourmet: Taste, Waste, Proust / Joseph Litvak 74

Outing Texture / Renu Bora 94

The "Sinister Fruitiness" of Machines: Neuromancer, Internet Sexuality, and the Turing Test / Tyler Curtain 128

Part II. The Affective Life of Capital

The Importance of Being Bored: The Dividends of Ennui in The Picture of Dorian Gray / Jeff Nunokawa 151

Balzac's Queer Cousins and Their Friends / Michael Lucey 167

Part III. Teacher's Pet

Defying "Development": Thomas Day's Queer Curriculum in Sandford and Merton / Anne Chandler 201

Wizards, Warriors, and the Beast Glatisant in Love / Barry Weller 227

Forged in Crisis: Queer Beginnings of Modern Masculinity in a Canonical French Novel / James Creech 249

Flogging is Fundamental: Applications of Birch in Swinburne's Lesbia Brandon / John Vincent 269

Part IV. Men and Nations

Same-Sex Unions in Modern Europe: Daniel Deronda, Altneuland, and the Homoerotics of Jewish Nationalism / Jacob Press 299

To Die For / Cindy Patton 330

Tearing the Goat's Flesh: Crisis, Homosexuality, Abjection, and the Production of a Late-Twentieth-Century Black Masculinity / Robert F. Reid-Pharr 353

Part V. Libidinal Intelligence: Shocks and Recognitions

The Autochoreography of an Ex-Snow Queen: Dance, Desire, and the Black Masculine in Melvin Dixon's Vanishing Rooms / Maurice Wallace 379

Lip-Reading: Woolf's Secret Encounters / Stephen Barber 401

The Female World of Exorcism and Displacement (Or, Relations between Women in Henry James's Nineteenth-Century The Portrait of a Lady) / Melissa Solomon 444

Strange Brothers / Jonathan Goldberg 465

Bibliography 483

Index 501

Contributors 517
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Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick has been awarded the Morton Dauwen Zabel award for criticism, presented by the American Academy of Arts and Letters

Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2040-1 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2028-9
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