Tagged Queer

Is This Any Fun?

Full text finally available on the Believer website: I wrote about my former professor, Richard Poirer, for The Believer.

Cruising and Americanist Criticism: Newton Arvin and F.O. Matthiessen

I. Critical Distances An intimate affair, America’s coming of age happened in 1915. There was no party or fanfare, just Van Wyck Brooks’s essay, “America’s Coming of Age,” the first consequential look at the previous century of American literature and therefore the first significant work of Americanist criticism. Curiously, the call for Americanist criticism antedates…

Wayne Kostenbaum Crosses His Legs, Hangs His Head

In his book Humiliation Wayne Koestenbaum “aims to pile up humiliations,” his own and others’, public and private, sexual, racial, anti-Semitic, class-based, professional, scatological, emotional and physical. In less than 200 pages there is no aspect of humiliation left untouched, from the Biblical (“[Mary] was a Jewish mother”) to the oh-so-contemporary (Google, reality television, Craigslist, You Tube). In the interim Koestenbaum scrutinizes some of the most notorious penitents and punishers in history: the Marquis De Sade, Oscar Wilde, Michael Jackson, Jean Genet, Liza Minnelli, the Venus Hottentot, T.S. Eliot, and Eliot Spitzer, to give a Whitman’s Sampler of his subjects.…