- Paperback: 244 pages
- Publisher: Columbia University Press; Revised ed. edition (April 15, 1985)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0231082738
- ISBN-13: 978-0231082730
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,233,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (Gender and Culture) Revised ed. Edition
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Universally cited as the text that ignited gay studies. (Rolling Stone)
"In many ways, the book that turned queer theory from a latent to a manifest discipline." (Voice Literary Supplement)
"Astoshingly powerful... Its insights are breathtaking and its careful attention to history, theory, and politics is exemplary." (Gay Community News)
"Stunning and original readings." (Raritan)
About the Author
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick is the author of Tendencies, The Coherence of Gothic Conventions, and Epistemology of the Closet.
Top customer reviews
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Overall the book is appealing because Sedgwick draws a map that is in fact usable. The pitfall of this book is that she uses this map to explain everything. This is of course a charge that can be made against any theorist that believes that their new theory holds the secret to history, to desire, to sexuality, to subjectivity, to relationships of all kinds, to every social situation and to every literary work. Its only later that we begin to see that any theory also has blind spots.
Like Foucault Sedgwick treats "masculinity" and "femininity" and "lesbian" and "homosexual" not as natural and stable categories but as historically contingent and shifting categories. This is fine so far as it goes but it also means that in order to challenge these categories and effect structural changes to the way we view gender and sexuality the academic must argue from some privileged position that allows them access to the ways society shapes its subjects and also allows some privileged insight into how historical change occurs. Again this is true of all theory. An academic that suggests that we are all shaped by history must also realize that their own views are shaped by their own historical-academic-personal situatedness and to her credit Sedgwick does just that in her later, and much more interesting because much more self-critical, Touching Feeling.
In that book Sedgwick evolves what amounts to a relational ethics as well as an ethics of academic life that recognizes that various forms of relationality and knowledges are practices that produce affects. If Between Men is a book that makes big claims, Touching Feeling is abook that analyzes the affects of such claims. Touching Feeling is thus a book that concerns itself less with cracking the sex and gender codes of the past (although she does some of that in this book as well) than in thoughtfully analyzing how practices, habits, and beliefs affect the quality of our lives. In many ways Touching Feeling marks a departure from some of her previous work and a return to a much more traditionally humanist approach (a return that was foreshadowed by Foucault's own return to ethics and humanism in his late work). It would seem that Sedgwick is saying that being fully human means not living in others codes and ideologies (nor dedicating ones life to cracking those codes and/or evolving new ones--which is to perpetually postpone the living of one's own life in the present) but living in critical relation to those codes and ideologies and evolving knowledge practices that are nourishing to one's self,one's students, friends and communities.
In Between Men it is obvious that Sedgwick is not any ordinary academic. That book was a brilliant beginning and in it we can see the habits and tendencies of mind that make all of her books unique and appealing. Touching Feeling is the fully evolved realization of those habits and tendencies of mind and the book that I think she will be remembered for. Between Men helped initiate one trend in academic life, Queer Studies; Touching Feeling is already shaping another trend in academic thought, and one that I think will remain current for some time to come: the ethics of relationality.