Reattachment Theory

Queer Cinema of Remarriage

Book Pages: 264 Illustrations: 61 illustrations Published: May 2020

Author: Lee Wallace

Cultural Studies, Gender and Sexuality > Queer Theory, Media Studies > Film

In Reattachment Theory Lee Wallace argues that homosexuality—far from being the threat to “traditional” marriage that same-sex marriage opponents have asserted—is so integral to its reimagining that all marriage is gay marriage. Drawing on the history of marriage, Stanley Cavell's analysis of Hollywood comedies of remarriage, and readings of recent gay and lesbian films, Wallace shows that queer experiments in domesticity have reshaped the affective and erotic horizons of heterosexual marriage and its defining principles: fidelity, exclusivity, and endurance. Wallace analyzes a series of films—Dorothy Arzner's Craig's Wife (1936); Tom Ford's A Single Man (2009); Lisa Cholodenko's High Art (1998), Laurel Canyon (2002), and The Kids Are All Right (2010); and Andrew Haigh's Weekend (2011) and 45 Years (2015)—that, she contends, do not simply reflect social and legal changes; they fundamentally alter our sense of what sexual attachment involves as both a social and a romantic form.


“Gay marriage: heteronormative capture or homophobia's social cure? If Lee Wallace gets her way, we will be liberated from thinking about gay marriage in these reductive terms forever. Insightful, nervy, and unapologetic, Reattachment Theory makes a case for gay marriage as central to the history of sexual modernity.” — Robyn Wiegman, Professor of Literature, Duke University

Reattachment Theory is a pointed engagement with contemporary queer theory and politics, making the fresh and compelling argument that homosexuality rescripted the marriage plot long before the legalization of same-sex marriage. Lee Wallace is an extraordinarily gifted close reader who sets new terms for queer marriage debates and film theory alike.” — Patricia White, author of Women’s Cinema, World Cinema: Projecting Contemporary Feminisms

"This well-researched, clearly argued, beautifully written, and brave book has few flaws." — Elizabeth Freeman, Critical Inquiry


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Lee Wallace is Associate Professor of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney and author of Lesbianism, Cinema, Space: The Sexual Life of Apartments.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  xi
1 Queer Skepticism and Gay Marriage  1
2 From Gay Marriage to Remarriage  27
3 Dorothy Arzner's Wife  53
4 Tom Ford and His Kind  82
5 Lisa Cholodenko's Attachment Trilogy  111
6 Reattachment Theory  134
7 The Remarriage Crisis  162
Reacknowledgments  183
Notes  191
Bibliography  225
Index  239
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0810-1 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0681-7