Duke University Press, 1997

Novel Gazing is the first collection of queer criticism on the history of the novel. The contributors to this volume navigate new territory in literary theory with essays that implicitly challenge the “hermeneutic of suspicion” widespread in current critical theory. In a stunning introductory essay, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick delineates the possibilities for a criticism that would be “reparative” rather than cynical or paranoid. The startlingly imaginative essays in the volume explore new critical practices that can weave the pleasures and disorientations of reading into the fabric of queer analyses.

Through discussions of a diverse array of British, French, and American novels – including major canonical novels, best-sellers, children’s fiction, and science fiction – these essays explore queer worlds of taste, texture, joy, and ennui, focusing on such subjects as flogging, wizardry, exorcism, dance, Zionist desire, and Internet sexuality. Interpreting the works of authors as diverse as Benjamin Constant, Toni Morrison, T. H. White, and William Gibson, along with canonical queer modernists such as James, Proust, Woolf, and Cather, contributors reveal the wealth of ways in which selves and communities succeed in extracting sustenance from the objects of a culture whose avowed desire has often been not to sustain them. The dramatic reframing that these essays perform will make the significance of Novel Gazing extend beyond the scope of queer studies to literary criticism in general. -From the jacket copy

“This invaluable and substantial collection opens with a typically spirited essay on ‘paranoid reading’ by Sedgwick, whose own pathbreaking analysis of the ‘paranoid Gothic’ has transformed how we understand sexuality in that particular genre… The impressive essays that follow feature several discussions addressing nineteenth-century literature, including Jeff Nunokawa on ennui in Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and John Vincent on Swinburne’s Lesbia Brandon.” -Nineteenth-Century Literature

“Sedgwick is such a powerful critic of literary studies and of sexuality because she recognizes where interpretive possibilities have been foreclosed and points to how they might be reopened.” -Andrew Elfenbein, Modern Philology

“The close textual inquiry and observations are so well done that a number of these essays should define new debates within the study of the novel at hand… This astonishing collection deserves wide reading and discussion.” -D.N. Mager, CHOICE



Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading; or, You’re So Paranoid, You Probably Think This Introduction is About You / Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

Part I. Digital Senses

Prophylactics and Brains: Beloved in the Cybernetic Age of AIDS / Kathryn Bond Stockton

Strange Gourmet: Taste, Waste, Proust / Joseph Litvak

Outing Texture / Renu Bora

The “Sinister Fruitiness” of Machines: Neuromancer, Internet Sexuality, and the Turing Test / Tyler Curtain

Part II. The Affective Life of Capital

The Importance of Being Bored: The Dividends of Ennui in The Picture of Dorian Gray / Jeff Nunokawa

Balzac’s Queer Cousins and Their Friends / Michael Lucey

Part III. Teacher’s Pet

Defying “Development”: Thomas Day’s Queer Curriculum in Sandford and Merton / Anne Chandler

Wizards, Warriors, and the Beast Glatisant in Love / Barry Weller

Forged in Crisis: Queer Beginnings of Modern Masculinity in a Canonical French Novel / James Creech

Flogging is Fundamental: Applications of Birch in Swinburne’s Lesbia Brandon / John Vincent

Part IV. Men and Nations

Same-Sex Unions in Modern Europe: Daniel Deronda, Altneuland, and the Homoerotics of Jewish Nationalism / Jacob Press

To Die For / Cindy Patton

Tearing the Goat’s Flesh: Crisis, Homosexuality, Abjection, and the Production of a Late-Twentieth-Century Black Masculinity / Robert F. Reid-Pharr

Part V. Libidinal Intelligence: Shocks and Recognitions

The Autochoreography of an Ex-Snow Queen: Dance, Desire, and the Black Masculine in Melvin Dixon’s Vanishing Rooms / Maurice Wallace

Lip-Reading: Woolf’s Secret Encounters / Stephen Barber

The Female World of Exorcism and Displacement (Or, Relations between Women in Henry James’s Nineteenth-Century The Portrait of a Lady) / Melissa Solomon

Strange Brothers / Jonathan Goldberg