Two new essays about Eve Sedgwick’s critical writing have recently appeared. Professor Anne-Lise François’s essay “Late Exercises in Minimal Affirmatives” appears in Theory Aside, a collection edited by Jason Potts and Daniel Stout (Duke 2014). In her essay, François discusses “the lateral movement by which in their late work Barthes and Sedgwick set aside the burden of discontented, perfective energies and leave off prying, suspicious efforts to uncover concealed truth. They prefer instead a form of aesthetic engagement that moves laterally, arranging its materials side by side….” In her epigraph, François quotes Sedgwick’s Touching Feeling: “Beside is an interesting preposition…because there is nothing very dualistic about it; a number of elements may lie alongside one another, though not an infinity of them.”
Jonathan A. Allan’s essay “Falling in Love with Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick” appears in a special “Queer/Affect” issue of Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature. Allan writes: “What does it mean to love a writer? This essay explores a number of writers and critics who have expressed love for Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. I argue that love affords another model for thinking through questions of influence, particularly a theory of influence informed by queer theory and affect studies.”
We would be grateful if readers let us know about new work related to Eve Sedgwick. Please contact us at info[a]evekosofskysedgwick.net.
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“Writing the History of Homophobia,” a previously unpublished manuscript from Eve Sedgwick’s archive, has now been published in Theory Aside. This collection, edited by Jason Potts and Daniel Stout, is published by Duke University Press. Eve’s text is thought to have been given as a talk at Amherst College, where she taught from 1984 to 1988. She describes the impossibility of learning, for example, about Oscar Wilde’s homosexuality from the Encyclopedia Britannica of her childhood if one doesn’t know about it already. She takes this as an emblem of “the extremely elusive and maddeningly plural ways in which cultures and their various institutions efface and alter sexual meaning.” She goes on to say that “at least for Western society of the last two millennia, the many complicated paths by which, as we have said, sexual meaning is falsified, denied, and altered, all lead homosexuals to much the same thorny and difficult place.”
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The Boston University Gender + Sexuality Studies Group has announced that Lauren Berlant will give this year’s lecture, “Sex in the Event of Happiness.”
“Our theories of the historical event tend to take the shape of trauma and catastrophe. What if we saw in sex the kind of event that structures our relation to history, intimacy, and sociality? Reading with Last Tango in Paris (Bertolucci, 1972), thinking about sexual revolution, and contesting the desexualization of so much queer theory, this lecture poses questions about where the sexual revolution went awry and what’s left for sexual optimism.”
Berlant is the George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor, Chicago University, and her most recent book, Sex, or the Unbearable is a dialogue with Lee Edelman (Duke 2013).
The lecture will take place at 5:00 pm in the Florence and Chafetz Hillel House, 213 Bay State Road, Boston. It is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.
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The University of York has announced two events that continue a tradition of celebrations of Eve’s work begun last year with their conference on Tendencies.
“To celebrate Queer History Month, Valentine’s Day, and the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Fat Art, Thin Art, the Centre for Modern Studies is delighted to host an afternoon soirée to discuss Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick as a poet. The afternoon will feature a number of short position papers on different aspects of Sedgwick’s poetry, including A Dialogue on Love.”
The event, titled “Fat Art Thin Art: Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick as a Poet,” will be held on
Friday, February 14, from 1:00pm to 5:30pm in The Treehouse, Berrick Saul Building, on The University of York campus.
It will be preceded by an evening of poetry titled “A Lovely Dialogue: Critics and Poets, Friends and Fans” on Thursday, February 13, from 6:00pm to 7:30pm at the same location.
“The evening will include a reading by Mary Baines Campbell, the author of two books of poems, The World, The Flesh and Angels (Beacon, 1989) and Trouble: Poems (Carnegie Mellon, 2003), as well as a leading scholar of Renaissance and Early Modern culture. It will also include a cast reading of Sedgwick’s Dr. Seussian queer bedtime story for children, ‘Pandas in Trees.’”
Both events are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For further information, please contact email@example.com.
Image: Kissing from “Panda Wishes 4U” by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
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Sarah McCarry’s press, Guillotine, has published a chapbook of a 1990 essay by Eve Sedgwick. In her introduction, Sarah writes: “I found this essay among her papers, which, over the last few years, I’ve been helping … to archive, and the initial thrill of coming across a paper of Eve’s— partially handwritten, cut-and-pasted together in places, a sheaf of papers that felt as alive as if she’d just set them down moments earlier— that had never before been published soon gave way to the even greater joy of realizing what an extraordinary, beautifully-written and still-relevant essay it was.” Sarah is calling the untitled manuscript [Censorship & Homophobia]. Handsomely crafted, the chapbooks have letter-pressed covers, and are hand sewn. A limited special edition includes a two-color, letter-pressed broadsheet with a quotation from the essay. The chapbook and special edition broadside are available from Guillotine.