{Free pdf} Epistemology of the ClosetAuthor Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick – Mariahilff.de

I have been thinking a lot lately about how variable the gay experience is across America and around the world, and even by individual I have been recently seeing a guy from Venezuela who is only in the process of coming out He hasn t come out to his parents, but has come out to his American friends and classmates, as well as some of his close female cousins He has three brothers, and after coming out to one of them recently, he received the response that while his brother respects him, he do I have been thinking a lot lately about how variable the gay experience is across America and around the world, and even by individual I have been recently seeing a guy from Venezuela who is only in the process of coming out He hasn t come out to his parents, but has come out to his American friends and classmates, as well as some of his close female cousins He has three brothers, and after coming out to one of them recently, he received the response that while his brother respects him, he does not support him I was a bit taken aback by the rather brash out casting in this day and age, and a bit shocked that there is still so much hatred and misunderstanding in the world today Being raised in Massachusetts in the middle class, my perception of acceptance is likely to be pretty skewed toward liberal notions of equality, acceptance, etc I haven t lost any friends, I haven t been eschewed from my family or work communities I have been accepted for who I am, gay But I wonder if I am missing out on some important rites and rituals as a homosexual, being so readily accepted Am I missing out on an experience that is supposed to shape me It has been a while now since I have read through Eve Sedgewick s Epistemology of the Closet and while I may have lost some of the particulars and nuances into the receding oblivion, the impact it has made on my world view persists Throughout literature, just as throughout life, we encounter everywhere the metaphor of the closet So much rhetoric has been propped up against this metaphor of the closet that it seems that it creates this vicious cycle of stigmatizing people who are unsure, figuring it out, or simply constrained by other forces Being in the closet is perceived as living a false, sham half life it isn t living You are deemed doubly guilty of being gay, and of being ashamed of it We live in such an insecure society, and everyone is in one closet or another, and many of them are made of glass they wear their insecurities on their sleeves It is not only us versus them gay versus straight, there is such a broad range of internally directed hatred, judgment and shaming within the gay community As a group we parade and champion acceptance, but behind the confines of our paper partitions, we do not often accept one another for our variations on the same theme.I read recently that many believe that homophobia is a fear that the homophobe himself may be gay that is probably true, and is by no means a new idea What is the origin of this Where did all this hate even come from In the ancient past, homosexuality was a fairly common and accepted passtime, though socially constructed in such a way Hadrian and Antinoos, Achilles and Patrocles, Jove and Ganymede, Apollo and Hyacinth etc There was not any kind of enduring relationship no gaily married men on Olympus that I know of, anyhow But the sexual component was accepted if not promoted by the ancients I suppose it must have been the rise of religion that gave voice to the prudish hatred for the sexual act I have a Mormon friend whose parents told him that while he is entitled to love whoever he chooses, they condemn the homosexual act What a reverse Are love and sex not a golden braid in themselves A complicated relationship exists between the commingling of hearts and the physical manifestation in bodies, but it seems a gross hypocrisy to allow one and condemn the other.La Rochefoucauld wrote There are some people who would never have fallen in love if they had not heard there was such a thing does the same go for hate as goes for love How would someone grow to hate themselves or to hate others for their differences, if someone aeons ago had not given voice, conceived of such a word, as defines something to be hated And will that rhetoric of homophobia and hatred ever truly be extricated from our language Language is very powerful it can make people fall in love, it can entertain, it can enlighten, but it can also breed hatred and misunderstanding, it can lie, it can kill Well, Eve Sedgwick is brilliant, as always, although her literary analysis is certainly a much lass breezier read than the amazing and much assigned introduction and first chapter of this book Part of the problem is that I haven t read a lot of the texts by dead white men that she analyzes, and that made some of the later chapters incredibly difficult to get though Chapter 2, on Billy Budd, was particularly torturous for me But, as in her other work, the insights that she eventually reaches Well, Eve Sedgwick is brilliant, as always, although her literary analysis is certainly a much lass breezier read than the amazing and much assigned introduction and first chapter of this book Part of the problem is that I haven t read a lot of the texts by dead white men that she analyzes, and that made some of the later chapters incredibly difficult to get though Chapter 2, on Billy Budd, was particularly torturous for me But, as in her other work, the insights that she eventually reaches here are dead on.I would recommend the introduction and first chapter to everyone seriously, everyone , but the rest of the book only to those working academically on sexuality in literature But the intro and first chapter are some of my favorite cultural criticism Ever And they get better every time I read them Fairly early on Sedgwick characterizes this project, in lieu of a warning of sorts, as not pellucid This is a very accurate assessment, both in terms of content and regarding the form of Epistemology of the Closet Which is to say that Sedwick tackles the subject matter that she admits is highly problematic with a highly dense text that is resistant to a simple reading as said subject matter itself This makes for a reading experience that is as highly interesting as it can be frustrating Ti Fairly early on Sedgwick characterizes this project, in lieu of a warning of sorts, as not pellucid This is a very accurate assessment, both in terms of content and regarding the form of Epistemology of the Closet Which is to say that Sedwick tackles the subject matter that she admits is highly problematic with a highly dense text that is resistant to a simple reading as said subject matter itself This makes for a reading experience that is as highly interesting as it can be frustrating Time and time again one finds oneself going back a few lines to disentangle the semantic bog strewn across very long paragraphs riddled with often obscure terms It is the kind of book that requires a second read while voiding that very possibility by the very nature of the text Sedgwick seems very aware that this is her approach inbuilds the main theme of instability of possible semantic attributions into the very fabric of the text itself so that it becomes structural insenses than one Whether she realizes it is also likely to turn off potential readers who would otherwise gladly explore the ideas expoused in said text is another question From what I gathered, Sedwick presents as fundamental to the whole of Wester culture, with an emphasis on Euro American cultural realities, what she calls a crsis in homo heterosexual definition in late 19th early 20th century Connected to this centrality arguably the only centrality in a text that insists on tilting virtually everything off center are the ways in which mostly male homosexuality is seen as universalizing in which a potentially discrete minority group is highly relevant to society at large or minoritizing in which homosexuality is is essentially only a matter pertaining to homosexuals themselves and distinctions regarding gender that can be viewed as transitive homosexuality reproducing female and male patterns of behavior identity and or separatist with same sex inclinations being a focusing on that particular sex, its particularities and sociocultural circumstances.Around this axis Sedgwick works out an analysis of seminal no pun intended texts in queer literature Given how non pellucid Sedgwick herself is, it is not surprising that Henry James should feature so prominently If James were born in the 20th century and turned to queer theory, I expect he would write very much as Sedgwick does, which is oddly enchanting, in a way At any rate, Sedgwick puts into play Melville s Billy Budd Oscar Wilde s Picture of Dorian Grey with bits of Nietzsche Henry James s The Beast in the Jungle Proust s In Search of Lost Time Familiarity with these works is mandatory, rereadings may even be in order otherwise an already oblique text veers into unintelligibility While Sedgwick does frame each author and summarize each work minus Proust s, which is understandable , the reader is expected to know them fairly well along with Foucault and have the particular texts fresh in their memory Melville and Billy BuddThis was perhaps my favorite chapter It places most of the action in terms of private public spaces and how they conflict and articulate the language of vicarious suffering and desire Emphasis on secrecy becoming almost by definition the homosexual closet opens up all sorts of possibilities around knowledge and what it means to those who hold and or withhold it Issues of articulation, of silencing and pacifying homosexual tensions give it an extra sense of relevance Oscar Wilde and The Picture of Dorian GraySurprisingly enough this chapter was not as long or thorough as one might expect Given the importance the text has had for queer writers, readers and queer ness in general, Sedgwick does not invest as much as one might like in her analysis Dorian Gray serves as an examples of how the homo aspect of homosexuality came to be perceived via the by now common place Double them of the picture itself Considerations of the relation between DR and the gothic genre show just how well versed Sedgwick is in this literature but are unfortunately drowned in parallels contrasts with Nietzsche that deserved an entire chapter Henry James and The Beast in the JungleThis is a short story that not even dedicated James readers will immediately bring to memory, assuming they have even read it I had not The chapter dedicated to the king of obscurity is the one closest to pure literary analysis It proposes an alternate interpretation to the orthodox one by reading the characters as dancing in and around the closet Ideas of self blindness and internalized homophobia that goes so deep it becomes destructive of the self are presented with the typical overabundance of verbosity but are convincing for all that It deconstructs the mechanisms through which a queer individual goes from simply suffering from the stifling effects of homophic repression to actively enforcing them.Proust and A la ResercheBy far the most fun chapter to read and probably the one that is both clearest on sections and obfuscating on others Sedgick self inserts, intentionally so, throughout most of this one The main theme is the closet as spectacle male homosexuality becomes the epitome of vicarious experience through the narrator s watching Charlus and on a meta level through the reader s reading the narrator watching Charlus This is the only chapter in whuch lesbianism is the focus through Albertine s fluid and less structured homosexual potential, Sedgwick projects amodern point of view around homosexuality as a whole The notion of the important perhaps even revolutionary of female readers of Proust was extremely interesting and one I wished had not be tacked right at the end I would read an entire thesis on that Overall, this is a difficult text that fights the reader almost line by line It will be intensely rewarding to some and perplexingly frustrating to others One thing that can be safely said, Epistemology of the Closet is not, at all, pellucid An interesting book One of those ones where trying to wrap your head around it gives you a headache in a good way I wish I had read the books she discussed in it For me the connection between unacknowledged male homosexuality and women s experience, even queer women s experience was convincingly shown by the text in addition many of the observations about being closetted known are transferrable as are many of the fears.Probably everyone should read it, or something like it to show how cu An interesting book One of those ones where trying to wrap your head around it gives you a headache in a good way I wish I had read the books she discussed in it For me the connection between unacknowledged male homosexuality and women s experience, even queer women s experience was convincingly shown by the text in addition many of the observations about being closetted known are transferrable as are many of the fears.Probably everyone should read it, or something like it to show how culture is constituted of open secrets and unacknowledged presences of various types of others Also how we all bear otherness in ourselves and xenophobia is fear of BEING the strange rather than a seperated out fear of the strange Confusing to read about all the embodied denials and ignorances of privilege.At times maybe she was a bit self indulgent, there was enough traces of self mockery to make this forgivable, even enjoyable.But Oooooooh what a difficult read My feelings toward this book are laced with resentment and I haven t even read it yet However, I am becoming increasingly enraged with the way the metaphor of the closet is popularly employed with the attendant utter lack of acknowledgement that oppression and homophobia exist, and the implication that therefore queer people are obvs totes pathological pathetic liars And bad liars at that because all the smug straight people are laughing up their sleeves at the poor pathetic closeted My feelings toward this book are laced with resentment and I haven t even read it yet However, I am becoming increasingly enraged with the way the metaphor of the closet is popularly employed with the attendant utter lack of acknowledgement that oppression and homophobia exist, and the implication that therefore queer people are obvs totes pathological pathetic liars And bad liars at that because all the smug straight people are laughing up their sleeves at the poor pathetic closeted obviously gay person Fuck that shit.So This book feels relevant I have my own issues with the way this book is namedropped in the subculture, but I m hoping it will actually feel relevant to real life and not just like a bunch of inaccessible academic waffle N.B I like theory and academicalness as much as they next girl see N.B , but I think there s a real questionmark about how ethical it is to write revolutionary foundational empowering texts at such a theoretical level that the people you re trying to empower can no longer easily understand them I see a lot of people taking issue with this book because it s difficult to read, and so I want to dispel a misunderstanding right up front Sedgwick is not writing a pop history book for anyone interested in LGBT studies This is a book written by an academic, aimed at other professional academics Epistemology is not a narrative, it s about how the field of academia has understood sexuality, gender, and the concept of the closet It s full of theory, it s written in academic jargon, it s rea I see a lot of people taking issue with this book because it s difficult to read, and so I want to dispel a misunderstanding right up front Sedgwick is not writing a pop history book for anyone interested in LGBT studies This is a book written by an academic, aimed at other professional academics Epistemology is not a narrative, it s about how the field of academia has understood sexuality, gender, and the concept of the closet It s full of theory, it s written in academic jargon, it s really dense, and if you re not used to that kind of writing, this book will feel absolutely impenetrable I know, because when I first tried to read it, I hadn t gone through graduate school yet, and I never managed to finish the introduction because I just didn t understand what I was reading That said if you re familiar with with this style of writing, the questions Sedgwick is asking and the theories she s presenting in this book are really fascinating It reads like a collection of five essays, and blends gender and sexuality studies with literary criticism by examining how novels written at the turn of the 20th century reflected the construction of the closet through their subtext but ultimate silence on a character s sexuality She explores in particular works by Nietzsche, Oscar Wilde, Proust, and Herman Melville, contrasting their real lives with their written works Her theory is based heavily in a post Foucault structure with a post Stonewall, post AIDS crisis lens through which to view the pluralities of sexuality This book will demand your full attention Even with a year of intense graduate studies in gender and sexuality and after a year long seminar on Nietzsche who I mention only because I find his writing is equally impenetrable , this book was a struggle at times It will not be an easy read It will be worth it This is definitely a good analysis of the function of the closet in homosexuality The introductory chapters were especially well written and fleshed out an influential cultural and social criticism The binarism chapters were the downside of Sedgwicks book The binarisms she ascribes to a section oftentimes did not fully come out of her following analysis of them Also it was especially hard to understand her chapter on Billy Budd which might be caused by my lack of having read the novel T This is definitely a good analysis of the function of the closet in homosexuality The introductory chapters were especially well written and fleshed out an influential cultural and social criticism The binarism chapters were the downside of Sedgwicks book The binarisms she ascribes to a section oftentimes did not fully come out of her following analysis of them Also it was especially hard to understand her chapter on Billy Budd which might be caused by my lack of having read the novel The book pics up again with the last two chapters which come back to the brilliant analysis that appeared in the introductory chapters Overall a very good critical analysis of the idea of the closet at the time it was written and probably still today thoroughly exhausting and utterly an important text, it demands patience and complete focus on the flip side, i really did enjoy the digressive technique What is at stake in male homo heterosexual definition Through readings of Melville, Nietzsche, Wilde, James and Proust, the author argues that the vexed imperatives to specify straight and gay identities have become central to every important form of knowledge of the th century I got about halfway through and I honestly don t care.