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Other titles in the Series Q series:
The Wedding Complex: Forms of Belonging in Modern American Culture (Series Q)by Elizabeth Freeman
Synopses & Reviews
In The Wedding Complex Elizabeth Freeman explores the significance of the wedding ceremony by asking what the wedding becomes when you separate it from the idea of marriage. Freeman finds that weddings—as performances, fantasies, and rituals of transformation—are sites for imagining and enacting forms of social intimacy other than monogamous heterosexuality. Looking at the history of Anglo-American weddings and their depictions in American literature and popular culture from the antebellum era to the present, she reveals the cluster of queer desires at the heart of the "wedding complex"—longings not for marriage necessarily but for public forms of attachment, ceremony, pageantry, and celebration.
Freeman draws on queer theory and social history to focus on a range of texts where weddings do not necessarily lead to legal marriage but instead reflect yearnings for intimate arrangements other than long-term, state-sanctioned, domestic couplehood. Beginning with a look at the debates over gay marriage, she proceeds to consider literary works by Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Faulkner, Carson McCullers, Vladimir Nabokov, and Edgar Allan Poe, along with such Hollywood films as Father of the Bride, The Graduate, and The Godfather. She also discusses less well-known texts such as Su Friedrich’s experimental film First Comes Love and the off-Broadway, interactive dinner play Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding.
Offering bold new ways to imagine attachment and belonging, and the public performance and recognition of social intimacy, The Wedding Complex is a major contribution to American studies, queer theory, and cultural studies.
"Elizabeth Freeman's "The Wedding Complex" performs a crucial scholarly and public service--disentangling the messy, expansive, uncontainable work of the wedding from the normative regulation of the law of marriage. This book is sharp, funny, and deeply significant to current understandings of what is at stake in what are reductively called 'the marriage debates.' A must-read for activists and policymakers as well as across the disciplines."--Lisa Duggan, author of "Sapphic Slashers: Sex, Violence, and American
A queer literary and cultural studies examination of the wedding ceremony (rather than the resulting marriages) which finds it to be a space of more open possibilities than might normally be supposed.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -277) and index.
About the Author
“The Wedding Complex by Elizabeth Freeman is an extremely original and important work. Freeman takes a distinctly new and different approach to American canonical texts, asking what forms of belonging and desire they produce outside of normative marital unions. For Freeman, the wedding produces and imagines social and cultural relations and kinship forms even as the heterosexual marriage erases these other modes of desire.”—Judith Halberstam, author of Female Masculinity
“Elizabeth Freeman’s The Wedding Complex performs a crucial scholarly and public service—disentangling the messy, expansive, uncontainable work of the wedding from the normative regulation of the law of marriage. This book is sharp, funny, and deeply significant to current understandings of what is at stake in what are reductively called ‘the marriage debates.’ A must-read for activists and policymakers as well as across the disciplines.”—Lisa Duggan, author of Sapphic Slashers: Sex, Violence, and American
Table of Contents
Love among the ruins — The we of me : the member of the wedding's novel alliances — "That troth which failed to plight" : race, the wedding, and kin aesthetics in Absalom, Absalom! — "A diabolical circle for the divell to daunce in" : foundational weddings and the problem of civil marriage — Honeymoon with a stranger : private couplehood and the making of the national subject — The immediate country, or, heterosexuality in the age of mechanical reproduction — Coda.
What Our Readers Are Saying
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