Synopses & Reviews
A pioneer in queer theory and literary studies, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick brings together for the first time in Touching Feeling
her most powerful explorations of emotion and expression. In essays that show how her groundbreaking work in queer theory has developed into a deep interest in affect, Sedgwick offers what she calls andquot;tools and techniques for nondualistic thought,andquot; in the process touching and transforming such theoretical discourses as psychoanalysis, speech-act theory, Western Buddhism, and the Foucauldian andquot;hermeneutics of suspicion.andquot;
In prose sometimes somber, often high-spirited, and always accessible and moving, Touching Feeling interrogatesandmdash;through virtuoso readings of works by Henry James, J. L. Austin, Judith Butler, the psychologist Silvan Tomkins and othersandmdash;emotion in many forms. What links the work of teaching to the experience of illness? How can shame become an engine for queer politics, performance, and pleasure? Is sexuality more like an affect or a drive? Is paranoia the only realistic epistemology for modern intellectuals? Ultimately, Sedgwick's unfashionable commitment to the truth of happiness propels a book as open-hearted as it is intellectually daring.
andldquo;Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's gift is to electrify intellectual communities by reminding them that andrsquo;thoughtandrsquo; has a temperature, a texture, and an erotics. With a generosity that is at once self-abnegatingly ascetic, and gorgeously, exhibitionistically bravura, she opens door after door onto undiscovered fields of inquiry. There are too many high points in Touching Feeling for me to list them. Sedgwick's language, richly garlanded, syntactically showstopping, gives, everywhere, its characteristic, always surprising pleasure.andrdquo;andmdash;Wayne Koestenbaum, author of Andy Warhol
andldquo;Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick writes with intense precision, and yet her work directs us toward the domain where meaning is music, unquantifiable, enigmatic, nonlinguistic. If the performative speech act, with all its relation to norms and laws, is central to the reception of her work in queer theory, then the performativity of knowledge beyond speechandmdash;aesthetic, bodily, affectiveandmdash;is its real topic.andrdquo;andmdash;Lauren Berlant, author of The Queen of America Goes to Washington City
Includes bibliographical references (p. -188) and index.
A collection of essays examining theories of affect and how they relate to issues of performance and performativity.
About the Author
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick is Distinguished Professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is the author of numerous books including A Dialogue on Love and Epistemology of the Closet. Her books Tendencies; Fat Art, Thin Art, a book of poetry; Novel Gazing: Queer Readings in Fiction; and Shame and Its Sisters: A Silvan Tomkins Reader (coedited with Adam Frank) are published by Duke University Press.
Table of Contents
Interlude, Pedagogic 27
1. Shame, Theatricality, and Queer Performativity: Henry Jamesandrsquo;s The Art of the Novel 35
2. Around the Performative: Periperformative Vicinities in Nineteenth-Century Narrative 67
3. Shame in the Cybernetic Fold: Reading Silvan Tomkins (Written with Adam Frank) 93
4. Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading, or, Youandrsquo;re So Paranoid, You Probably Think This Essay Is About You 123
5. Pedagogy of Buddhism 153
Works Cited 183