By Eve Sedgwick

ISBN-10: 0231058608

ISBN-13: 9780231058605

Hailed through the hot York occasions as "one of the main influential texts in gender experiences, men's reports and homosexual studies," this publication uncovers the homosocial hope among males, from recovery comedies to Tennyson's Princess.

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Additional info for Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosexual Desire

Sample text

All love's loving parts," the "trophies of my lovers gone," live "hung," "buried," "hidden" in the fair youth; Their images I loved I view in thee, And thou, all they, hast all the all of me. (31) The value of the youth is increased by his power to attract and concentrate the love of other men; it is attractive, not incriminating, for a man to possess a "lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell" (5). The hating lines about the dark lady in 137, in the catastrophic denouement after the "Will" sonnets, are a damned and damning echo of that bland "lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell," however: If eyes corrupt by over-partial looks Be anchored in the bay where all men ride, Why of eyes' falsehood hast thou forged hooks, Whereto the judgement of my heart is tied?

The extraordinarily dilative insistence on the "paradox" of a woman who is dark being perceived as fair (an otherwise not very telling pun that is the crux of at least ten of the dark lady sonnets) indicates that, in some way not so facilely expressed, to be a woman is already to be oxymoron militant, and to love or desire a woman is to be split with the same chisel. My thoughts and my discourse as madmen's are, At random from the truth vainly expressed: For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright, Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.

Nor do I mean to argue that the bond between the speaker and his male beloved is less strong, less central, or, certainly, less valued ethically than the bond with me desired female. However, I am saying that within the world sketched m these sonnets, there is not an equal opposition or a choice posited bcr-veen two such institutions as homosexuality (under whatever name) and heterosexuality. The Sonnets present a male-male love that, like the love : : the Greeks, is set firmly within a structure of institutionalized social relations that are carried out via women: marriage, name, family, loyalty to progenitors and to posterity, all depend on the youth's making a particular use of women that is not, in the abstract, seen as opposing, denying, or detracting from his bond to the speaker.

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Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosexual Desire by Eve Sedgwick


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