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Vibrating to the Chord of Queer

Elaine Showalter: Eve KosofskySedgwick, 6 March 2003

Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity 
by Eve KosofskySedgwick.
Duke, 216 pp., £14.95, March 2003, 0 8223 3015 6
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Regarding SedgwickEssays on Queer Culture and Critical Theory 
edited by Stephen Barber and David Clark.
Routledge, 285 pp., £55, September 2002, 0 415 92818 4
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... In the introduction to her new book, Touching Feeling, the queer theorist Eve KosofskySedgwick describes its strange and haunting black and white cover photograph as ‘the catalyst that impelled me to assemble the book in its present form’. It depicts a woman clumsily embracing an object that resembles an enormous wasps’ nest made of sticks and twine ...

Barbie Gets a Life

Lorna Scott Fox, 20 July 1995

Barbie’s Queer Accessories 
by Erica Rand.
Duke, 213 pp., £43.50, July 1995, 0 8223 1604 8
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The Art of Barbie: Artists Celebrate the World’s Favourite Doll 
edited by Craig Yoe.
Workman, 149 pp., £14.99, October 1994, 1 56305 751 4
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... genre of gender construction and deconstruction studies, epitomised in the work and persona of Eve KosofskySedgwick (the straight woman in heavily-theorised white glasses who would rather be a gay man), Barbie’s Queer Accessories nonetheless keeps one foot high on the moral ground of traditional ...

Roaming the Greenwood

Colm Tóibín: A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition by Gregory Woods, 21 January 1999

A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition 
by Gregory Woods.
Yale, 448 pp., £24.95, February 1998, 0 300 07201 5
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... emphasises, the reader is the one who makes the difference. In her Epistemology of the Closet, Eve KosofskySedgwick writes: ‘it was only close to the end of the 19th century that a cross-class homosexual role and a consistent, ideologically full thematic discourse of male homosexuality became entirely visible, in ...

The Straight and the Bent

Elaine Showalter, 23 April 1992

Sexual Dissidence: Augustine to Wilde, Freud to Foucault 
by Jonathan Dollimore.
Oxford, 388 pp., £35, August 1991, 0 19 811225 4
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Inside/Out: Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories 
by Diana Fuss.
Routledge, 432 pp., £40, March 1992, 0 415 90236 3
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... the essential fixity of sexual oppositions and identity politics. Feminist theorists including Eve KosofskySedgwick, Judith Butler, Marjorie Garber and Diana Fuss have called for more fluid work on questions of sexual difference which will address what Butler calls ‘gender trouble’. A number of recent studies ...

Like a Manta Ray

Jenny Turner: The Entire History of Sex, 22 October 2015

The Argonauts 
by Maggie Nelson.
Graywolf, 143 pp., £23, May 2015, 978 1 55597 707 8
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... Barthes emerges as one of many heroes in this book, along with Wittgenstein, Catherine Opie and Eve KosofskySedgwick. Harry is Harry Dodge, the artist, filmmaker and genderqueer pioneer, who chooses to live, biologically and socially, between genders while mostly answering to, and passing when he wants to, as ...


Stephen Greenblatt, 19 June 1986

Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy 
by Judith Brown.
Oxford, 214 pp., £12.50, January 1986, 0 19 503675 1
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... this historicising have been taken recently by a number of scholars, including Caroline Bynum, Eve KosofskySedgwick, Christopher Craft, Thomas Laqueur, and, of course, Michel Foucault. When the implications of this work are fully absorbed, it will be more difficult to write of lesbian nuns in Renaissance Italy, but ...

I like you

Hermione Lee: Boston Marriage, 24 May 2007

Between Women: Friendship, Desire and Marriage in Victorian England 
by Sharon Marcus.
Princeton, 356 pp., £12.95, March 2007, 978 0 691 12835 1
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... boldly against the feminist critics and queer theorists – such as Judith Butler, Martha Vicinus, Eve KosofskySedgwick and Carroll Smith-Rosenberg – through whom she has evidently formulated her thinking, proposes a new account of women’s lives in the mid to late 19th century. The advantage of her method is that ...

Is there another place from which the dickhead’s self can speak?

Marina Warner: The body and law, 1 October 1998

Bodies of Law 
by Alan Hyde.
Princeton, 290 pp., £39.50, July 1997, 0 691 01229 6
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... formaldehyde: first, he is science’s current Everyman (and, until he’s joined by a promised ‘Eve’, this is taken at all-embracing, generic force), whereas the 18th-century cabinets sought to define the norm through aberration, disease, deformity, monsters; secondly, he has been dematerialised and rendered imponderable, spectral, beamed digitally ...


James Davidson, 8 February 1996

The Marriage of Likeness: Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe 
by John Boswell.
Fontana, 412 pp., £8.99, January 1996, 0 00 686326 4
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... in some excellent recent work by critics and historians of sexuality, in particular Alan Bray and Eve KosofskySedgwick. Boswell had little time for such sophistication, but it seems highly relevant to any understanding of adelphopoiesis. The most striking feature of ‘made brothers’ is not their assimilation to the ...

What’s the hook?

Helen Thaventhiran, 27 January 2022

Hooked: Art and Attachment 
by Rita Felski.
Chicago, 199 pp., £18, October 2020, 978 0 226 72963 3
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... offers just one view of a landscape that has been sketched by Michael Polanyi, Paul Ricoeur, Eve KosofskySedgwick, Bruno Latour, Stephen Best, Toril Moi, Hal Foster, Namwali Serpell and others. Her current work is perhaps the liveliest and least plangent forum for questions about how to read and write criticism ...


Kevin Kopelson: Confessions of a Plagiarist, 22 May 2008

... had already begun to develop an identification with the article’s author, a Jewish woman called Eve KosofskySedgwick – a cross-sex, cross-sexuality identification (she’s not gay) that I’d come to write about in ‘Fake It like a Man’. The woman, you see, would soon come to dominate sexuality studies. And ...

The Henry James Show

Ruth Bernard Yeazell, 7 January 1988

Henry James: A Life 
by Leon Edel.
Collins, 740 pp., £25, July 1987, 0 00 217870 2
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The Complete Notebooks of Henry James 
edited by Leon Edel and Lyall Powers.
Oxford, 662 pp., £25, March 1987, 0 19 503782 0
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... to speculate about the complex patterns of James’s erotic identifications and avoidances – as Eve KosofskySedgwick has brilliantly done with ‘The Beast in the Jungle’, for example – without assuming that the Figure in the Carpet must always turn out to be William. Though the preface to Henry James: A Life ...
... Duke University is also celebrated for its department of queer studies, headed by the redoubtable Eve KosofskySedgwick. Lesbian fiction has from the very beginning – except when it was entirely separatist – been associated in the US with the feminist movement. Only a few lesbian novelists – Jeanette Winterson in ...

How far shall I take this character?

Richard Poirier: The Corruption of Literary Biography, 2 November 2000

Bellow: A Biography 
by James Atlas.
Faber, 686 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 571 14356 3
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... few of the critics who’ve written most instructively about triangulation and homosociality, like Eve KosofskySedgwick or, before her, René Girard in Deceit, Desire and the Novel. Instead, he brings into the argument a famous but altogether less pertinent essay, Leslie Fiedler’s ‘Come Back to the Raft, Huck ...

Literary Friction

Jenny Turner: Kathy Acker’s Ashes, 19 October 2017

After Kathy Acker: A Literary Biography 
by Chris Kraus.
Allen Lane, 352 pp., £20, August 2017, 978 1 63590 006 4
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... often remembered as a queer icon. And yes, Acker had a lot of sex with both men and women, but as Eve KosofskySedgwick explained in Tendencies (1993), that’s far from all that queerness is about. More expansively, it names what Sedgwick called ‘the open mesh of possibilities ...

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