Book Pages: 304 Illustrations: Published: October 1993

Gender and Sexuality > LGBTQ Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Theory, Theory and Philosophy > Critical Theory

Tendencies brings together for the first time the essays that have made Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick "the soft-spoken queen of gay studies" (Rolling Stone). Combining poetry, wit, polemic, and dazzling scholarship with memorial and autobiography, these essays have set new standards of passion and truthfulness for current theoretical writing.
The essays range from Diderot, Oscar Wilde, and Henry James to queer kids and twelve-step programs; from "Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl" to a performance piece on Divine written with Michael Moon; from political correctness and the poetics of spanking to the experience of breast cancer in a world ravaged and reshaped by AIDS. What unites Tendencies is a vision of a new queer politics and thought that, however demanding and dangerous, can also be intent, inclusive, writerly, physical, and sometimes giddily fun.


Tendencies is a selection of Sedgwick’s brilliant and provocative essays. . . . The associations she makes are novel and imaginative.” — Karla Jay, New York Times Book Review

“Sedgwick is one of the smartest and wittiest critics writing. The play of her mind as it goes from Henry James to John Waters and Divine, from AIDS to Jane Austen and women’s anal eroticism, is dazzling. Her work is often as moving as it is acute: Like the best of the gay male writers whose work has been her principal subject, in her prose flawless surface lures the reader to explore new depths.” — Marilyn Hacker, The Nation

"Because of the polymorphousness of its disciplinary perversity, Tendencies, taken together with Sedgwick's two previous books, virtually defines the new field of queer studies. The opulent availability of an embodied self who also happens to be a brilliant reader marks Sedgwick's effort throughout this volume. It is also what allows one the tutelary space for taking, not only pleasure from her work, but courage from her example." — James Creech, author of Closet Writing/Gay Reading

"Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick is deservedly recognised as the primum mobile of lesbian & gay studies. Yet her real achievement lies not so much in the creation of a new academic discipline, as in the profound implications her work carries for the rest of the academy, and the wider world beyond. For she assigns an absolutely fundamental, constitutive role to homophobia in the construction of Modernity, and its myriad institutions, discourses, pleasures, and pains. Tendencies provides a marvelously exhilarating excursion across the range of her interests and involvements. . . . She is the most consistently intelligent, courageous, perceptive, daring and sensible critic currently writing in the United States. I strongly recommend panic-buying." — Simon Watney, author of Policing Desire


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick is Distinguished Professor of English, CUNY Graduate Center. Her many publications include A Dialogue On Love (Beacon, 1999); Fat Art/Thin Art (Duke, 1994); Tendencies (Duke, 1993); and Epistemology of the Closet (California, 1990).

Table of Contents Back to Top
Foreword: T Times xi

Queer and Now 1

Queer Tutelage

Privilege of Unknowing: Diderot's The Nun 23

Tales of the Avunculate: The Importance of Being Earnest 52

Is the Rectum Straight?: Identification and Identity in The Wings of the Dove 73

Memorial for Craig Owens 104

Crossing of Discourses

Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl 109

Epidemics of the Will 130

Nationalisms and Sexualities 143

How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay: The War on Effeminate Boys 154

Across Genders, Across Sexualities

Willa Cather and Others 167

A Poem Is Being Written 177

Divinity: A Dossier, A Performance Piece, A Little-Understood Emotion (written with Michael Moon) 215

White Glasses 252

Bibliography 267

Index 275
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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: 978-0-8223-1421-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1408-0
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