The ocular attributes that, for a modern reader, are so sexually resonant.
The failure of vision to articulate a clear division between subject and object nonetheless points to a characteristic intrinsic to the notion of trou- bled vision. For, if it is the case that vision can have an unsettling effect on subjective boundaries, it also concomitantly perturbs the forms of gender and sexuality that depend upon such distinctions. Troubled vision thus insists upon the potential in any act of visualization for the mobilization of gender and sex- uality in ways that can unsettle as well as confirm their normative value.
Although not always explicitly acknowledged, the potentially queer effects of vision inform a number of contributions to this book. Keen Chapters Seven and Eight explore the role of vision or visualization in negotiating between the subject and sexualized object of the gaze. Although neither of these chapters takes queer methodologies as its start- ing point, it is not difficult to see how, in different ways, the troubling effects of vision in literary representation are in both cases implicated in the destabilizing of hetero sexual economy and the forms of gendered agency and identity that such an economy sets up.
Another facet of this exploration of troubled vision as a modality of queer optics is the investigation of attempts to visualize and thereby secure forms of gendered agency and sexual identity. The disciplinary force of scopic regimes in imagining and policing sexuality as well as gender is a theme explored in greater detail in other chapters, such as those of Burgwinkle, Mills, and Wolfthal. Wolfthal consid- ers the ways in which late medieval depictions of same-sex love may have been used to legitimate or to condemn certain forms of sexual desire in particular historical contexts.
By so doing, Mills argues that the regulation of virgin sexuality within the narrative framework of early Middle English anchoritic writing both attempts and fails to secure the rigid identities that disciplinary models seek to inscribe. Vision in this account thus constitutes an important part of the taxonomic project in which sexuality is given epistemological—as well as visual—tangibility. Burgwinkle nonetheless suggests, as do other contributors, that the processes through which gender and sexuality are supposedly rendered vis- ible are often inadequate to the task of representing such categories in clearly delineated form.
For Griffin, blind spots such as these do not imply an absence of meaning; rather, they are at the very heart of its production, generating a surplus of signification that undermines visibility through its overdetermination. Judith Butler. However, the visual dynamics of such an epistemological project are, in these essays, shown to have a more than incidental role not only in producing knowledge but also in troubling or undermining it.
Gender in Nineteenth-Century Art
What the var- ious contributions to this volume thus invite is a consideration of how troubled vision is located at the very core of representational and episte- mological systems, and how it informs the ways in which medieval culture negotiates its relationship to gender and sexuality through these systems. Such an appreciation is of central importance to an awareness of the way in which modern critical approaches to medieval texts and images also have an investment in producing the Middle Ages as an object of knowledge.
An approach of this sort might, we believe, be developed in relation to the ways in which modern approaches more generally may both trouble and be troubled by vision. This, indeed, is an issue that has implicitly informed recent discussion on the place of vision within the Western critical imaginary. However, what remains unclear is the role vision has to play in contemporary theory as a result.
As intimated here, we—along with other contributors to this collection—have chosen to explore the productive possibilities that a troubled and troubling relationship to vision might produce. More importantly, we contend, along with Nicholson, that theoretical approaches of all kinds might benefit from retaining a self-consciously problematic relationship to vision in order to exploit its troubling potential. In this way, Greek thought was, according to Jay, abetted by an ocu- larcentric bias, which maintained a distinction between subject and object so that the latter might be neutrally apprehended by the former.
The essays collected here attempt such an engagement in a wide vari- ety of ways, presenting a diverse spectrum of approaches to the categories of vision, gender, and sexuality in medieval culture. They shed light on the troubling effects of visual encounters in a range of disciplines, including art history; religious studies; cultural studies; and English, French, German, Italian, and Latin literary studies. But all essays in the volume share a common commitment to troubling com- monly held assumptions about the relationship between gender, sexuality, and vision, whether in its medieval or modern manifestations.
If this is a book about building connections between sexual and gender identities and visual frameworks, then it is also a book about dislodging or disrupting some of those connections. These essays are linked by their appreciation of the extent to which tech- niques of visualizing desire—for example, painting, confessional writing, or critical classification—might be used to produce and deploy knowledge about sexuality and gender, both in the Middle Ages and today. Although treating material produced in very different cultural contexts, Wolfthal, Burgwinkle, and Nicholson all take up the issue of how cultures attempt to represent, obscure, or elide gender identities and sexual possibilities that have conventionally been conceived as culturally troubling.
Christian homophobia. At the same time, Damian, by remaining beholden to the institutional pleasures of embodying an all-seeing, all-knowing gaze, is finally unable to abandon the notions of selfhood and vision to which he arguably presents an alternative. This in turn, she suggests, complicates perceptions of these narratives as the vehicles of an appropriating male gaze. This, he argues, might in turn trouble perceptions of a neat correlation between vision and identity in early Middle English anchoritic writings.
These essays suggest that eroticism is particularly conducive to a troubling presentation of gender and that the discourse of sex, when combined with devotional or political motifs, potentially undermines its perceptual stability. Like Howie, Catherine M. Demonstrating how the per- ception of text and image might be thought of in its narrative context rather than in terms of single moments of visual encounter, the essays by Anne Simon, Sylvia Huot, and Miranda Griffin suggest that a visual focus troubles texts by producing blind spots, mirroring, or symbolic confusion.
Basing her analysis on a printed edition of the text illustrated by woodcuts, Simon argues that the iconography of the woodcuts, with its echoes of courtly as well as biblical traditions, is not as unambiguous as may at first sight appear. The text, Simon argues, can be read on several levels, permitting a fluidity of inter- pretative possibilities that subverts the stated purpose of the text and may leave room for women to read text and image to suit their own ends. These images, as Huot points out, serve to promote the ideological message of the text, which aims, among other things, to reinforce heterosexuality and nation- hood through a preoccupation with sexual violence.
A privileged category in deconstructive literary criticism is the blind spot produced by double meaning: it functions as a metaphor for the mys- tery that no amount of revelation can illumine. As such the text and its female characters cannot be thought of in singular terms, but are instead troublingly plural, demanding closer scrutiny, yet defying the gaze that seeks a unified corpus. Notes 1. Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, ed.
Parshley London: Jonathan Cape, , p. Butler, Gender Trouble, pp. Butler, Gender Trouble, p. Butler, Bodies That Matter, esp. Burke, 2 vols. New York: Russell, , —46 5. Biernoff, Sight and Embodiment, p. Madeline H. Jay, Downcast Eyes, pp. Bacon, Opus Majus, 5. The consequences of visualizing transgressive sexual desires are many. The Falconer is less well known, but the few studies that discuss the print dismiss it too easily, thereby misinterpreting it. As Warren Johannson and William A. Furthermore, until the rise of gay studies in the s, art historians were by and large not open to the possibility that art could depict same-sex love.
But it is precisely because art historians have until recently failed to consider the possibility of interpretations based on sexu- ality that it today presents such a potentially fruitful category of analysis. This chapter contributes to the growing number of recent studies that embrace that goal. Luke Painting the Virgin. Furthermore, prominently displayed on the counter to the left of the scale is a girdle, commonly presented by the groom to the bride.
This gesture appears in marriage portraits, such as a relief of Emperor Charles V and Isabella, dated , and also in images of lovers, including an engraving by Master E. Van der Velden identified the woman as Mary because her wedding took place the year that the painting was com- pleted, and because her companion wears the coat of arms of Guelders on a chain around his neck.
For example, a Flemish brooch, dated ca. By contrast, representations of engaged and married couples are numerous. In short, the preponderance of evidence and scholarly opinion supports the conclusion that the man and woman are readying themselves for marriage. A second couple appears in the painting, but they have never been adequately explained. Represented in a much smaller scale at the margins of the composition, the two men are depicted as reflections in a mirror figure 1.
The mirror serves to expand the space of the painting, since it shows the street outside the shop, and also recalls the convex looking glasses that were employed as security devices so that shopkeepers could detect approaching thieves. He ques- tions whether the mirror is spotted,23 but one spot is clearly visible, just to the right of the two men figure 1. Scholars generally accept the idea that the men reflected in the mirror are linked conceptu- ally to the betrothed couple, and this is supported by visual evidence.
The figure on the left in each pair is dressed in brighter and warmer colors, and wears a larger, more ornate headdress than his or her companion. Furthermore, the man on the right in each couple turns his head slightly toward his partner. Scholars generally agree that these two pairs, which echo each other, were designed in opposition, that the men in the mirror represent a nega- tive model that contrasts with the ideal bridal couple.
Images of youthful, handsome couples, for example, often show on the reverse the same pair depicted as corpses. If most scholars accept the idea that the men in the mirror are designed to contrast with the bridal couple, they disagree as to what the nature of the difference is. The function of the pair has always rested on the mean- ing of the falcon. Upton emphasized the courtly aspect of the male couple.
Such attire is far from the more sober and modest garments of bourgeois craftsmen, such as the goldsmith depicted in the painting. Guelders, which connects him to that court. Since the time of Ovid, the hunt has served as a metaphor for pursuits of a sexual nature. John Boswell observed that the hunt figures prominently in homoerotic poetry, and Italian fifteenth-century chivalric literature similarly linked leisure activities—such as hunting—with same-sex desire. First, they fail to fol- low a single iconographical pattern, but rather engage the falcon in diverse and imaginative ways.
For example, a Flemish casket, dated ca. Note how the casket shows on the right a couple locked in a passionate embrace, who kiss ardently figure 1. Nor are these images exceptional; Friedman discusses a series of other examples in which the falconer and his companion are portrayed as equivalent to couples whose lovemaking is more explicitly depicted. The reticence of this image parallels not only the discreet character of heterosexual falconers in northern art figure 1. Marc Boone concludes that in opposition to Italian practice, Netherlandish scribes were reluctant to describe the crime in detail and preferred to proceed as quickly as possible to other types of cases.
Manca then explored similar figures depicted in religious works. These instead show men apart from the rest of the scene, who stand close to each other, one slightly behind the other; at times one man. Scala Art Resource, New York. Although his panel does not include cavorting putti, the chin-chuck gesture, or linked arms, as do the Italian works, it does display a motif that was omitted in the Italian images, but was commonly employed in northern art as a sign of love: the falcon.
This painting shows in the foreground a large representation of the Holy Family, and in the background, to either side, nude youths. To the right, a young man stands between the legs of a companion who embraces him across the chest while a third nude pulls his drapery. To the left, two youths lounge in close proximity to each other. Alinari Art Resource, New York. William E.
- International Encyclopedia of Human Geography.
- Basic Proof Theory.
- How To Sell Your Way Through Life.!
- Gender and Sexuality.
Strozzi in late or Recent publications show that homosexuality and heterosexuality were at times contrasted. Elizabeth B.
Keiser notes that the late fourteenth- century Middle English text Cleanness constructs heterosexual and homo- sexual acts as binary opposites, the one clean, natural, and procreative, the other filthy, against nature, and sterile. A sixteenth-century poem produced at the French court condemns marriages that are enacted as a subterfuge to permit homosexual coupling. This statement implies, as Joseph Cady justly observes, that same-sex attraction can produce an enduring relationship much like heterosexual marriage.
The poet, however, condemns such alter- native arrangements. Since this drawing appears in the same codex as others that are clearly homoerotic, such as the drawing by Zoppo mentioned earlier figure 1. Indeed its composition is similar to those of conventional wedding scenes, which often show a priest standing between the couple as the groom presents a ring to the bride. For remaining single they become sodomites. And take this as a general rule. As we have seen, San Bernardino was not alone in believing that men choose either marriage or sexual relationships with other men, and for this reason homosexual attraction presents an obstacle to marriage.
Christus opposes the sin of sodomy to the holy sacrament of matrimony. Citing one case in which the chancellor himself, even during the siege of Neuss, took time to personally intercede in a case of sodomy, Boone concludes that the repression of those who engaged in homosexual acts was one of the ways in which the state sought to control its citizens and consolidate its power. Jan of Uutkerke was arrested in , and in the year in which the painting was completed, , Goswijn De Wilde, a high-ranking Burgundian official, was executed for the offence. Christus constructs same-sex desire as the antithesis of marriage and therefore a threat to the social order.
This interpretation reinforces the two themes of the painting: the social usefulness of goldsmiths—they help fortify marriage—and marriage itself. For these reasons, we should not be surprised that it constructs marriage as the norm, and homosexuality as deviance. But the Housebook Master does not differentiate the class of the two figures, nor does he construct one as subservient to the other.
Rather, the two men stand arm-in-arm, one holding a stick used to beat the prey out into the open, the other with the leashes of three hunting dogs wrapped around his arm and a falcon perched on his gloved hand. Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum. It is not only the falcon, however, that suggests that this is an image of same-sex desire. The man on the right wears a wreath in his hair, which, like the falcon, was a standard symbol of love.
Furthermore, a large phallic dagger rests between his thighs. This couple is close to the Italian images of sodomites studied by Joseph Manca, which often depict men with arms entwined and a sword between the legs figure 1. This precious print, less than five inches high, has been repeatedly con- nected to a courtly milieu. It belongs to a group of drypoints that all show courtly themes, date in the s, and were kept together as a set into the nineteenth century. These prints were not made for public consumption.
Rather, the Housebook Master chose the technique of drypoint, which produces many fewer impressions than woodcut or engraving. The Falconer shows an unusually fine technique, which produced delicate and subtle tonal effects. Furthermore, other works by the artist are connected to the court.
Troubled vision : gender, sexuality, and sight in medieval text and image
He drew the frontispiece for a romance, which was translated by a court poet for the Elector Palatine, Philip the Sincere, at Heidelberg, and his Housebook is intimately connected to the court of Emperor Frederick III. The subject is also typical of this group of works since it is exclusively aristocratic. Filedt Kok, writing of the Departure for the Hunt figure 1.
In fact, by showing this couple in much the same way as heterosexual lovers, the artist constructs love between men as an equivalent option. First, the Falconer is small, less than five inches high, and so designed for private viewing. Second, the work shows a purely sec- ular subject. Third, those who purchased this print were probably members of the court, and so may well have possessed greater freedom to enjoy homoerotic works than other art patrons.
A wide range of subjects, functions, contexts, and viewpoints characterizes this group of images. But patrons cannot control audience response. When other viewers saw the work, they brought their own concerns and attitudes to bear upon their understanding of the image. We lack accounts of contemporary responses to the works that we have discussed in this chapter, but since Early Netherlandish society was far from uniform in its feelings toward same-sex desire, viewers may well have had a range of reactions.
Undoubtedly many understood and supported the condemnation of the male couple. Others may not have understood the message, because they were unfamiliar with the coded meaning of the falcon. Still others may have ignored the intended message and instead reveled in the visualization of male lovers within a public image. Some may have viewed the men framed within the mirror as a positive marker of homosexual identity. Indeed, unlike other contemporary images of same-sex desire, the painting, on some level, invites us to identify with the male lovers.
Vern L. Warren Johansson and William A. Bullough and James A. Brundage New York: Garland, , pp. Abrams, , pp. Koch: Studies in the Northern Renaissance, ed. Samantha J. Riches and Sarah Salih London: Routledge, , pp. For other works, see n Maryan W. See also Maryan W. Ainsworth and Max P. Englebert Kirshbaum et al. Rome: Herder, —76 , 6: cols. Charles Sterling et al. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, , pp. Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting, p.
Jos Kolderweij, in his review of Ainsworth and Martens, Petrus Christus: Renaissance Master, in Simiolus 23 : [—73], convincingly argues that the object with the pelican on the lid is a reliquary. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, , , fig. Hall, Arnolfini Betrothal, pp. Filedt Kok, p. Nico J. Brederoo Amsterdam: Aramith, , pp. Moshe Lazar and Norris J. They stand in the street, which was often viewed as a dangerous place that is open to sin, especially sins of a sexual nature.
See Wolfthal, Images of Rape, pp. Berkeley: University of California Press, , esp. Scher ed. Scott, Late Gothic Painting, pp. Eloy and S. Wolfthal, Images of Rape, pp. Camille, Medieval Art of Love, pp. See, for example, Camille, Medieval Art of Love, figs. Camille, Medieval Art of Love, p. Howard Hibbard, Michelangelo, 2nd edn. New York: Harper and Row, , cites this explanation along with another, p.
Hibbard, Michelangelo, p. Michael J. If the panel does represent St. Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, vol. Robert Hurley London: Penguin, The following paragraph is a summary of his article. Arnold J. Pomerans Berkeley: University of California Press, , pp. General Archives, Chambers of accounts, Acquits de Lille, portefeuille no. This information was kindly communicated to me via E-mail by Marc Boone in Although they differ iconographically, a few other fifteenth-century north- ern European works construct similar negative views of homosexuality.
Sixteenth-century Netherlandish art also represented same-sex desire. See Saslow, Pictures and Passions, p. For a parallel example, see Wolfthal, Images of Rape, p. Jahrhundert, 10 vols. For this print, see Jay A. Levenson, Konrad Oberhuber, and Jacqueline L. For another print that shows the gentleman and his servant out falconing, see Arthur M.
Here the gentleman rides on horseback while his servant walks, again a clear class distinction. Lehrs, Geschichte und Kritischer Katalog, Jonathan J. Alexander notes that Emperor Frederick II described the same sort of lure. Otto Schmitt et al. Geneva: Droz, —64 , ; F. Hollstein, German Engravings, Etchings, and Woodcuts ca. Jan Piet Filedt Kok, pp. Richards, Sex, Dissidence and Damnation, p.
This is not the only northern work to show this attitude. Though he is often cited as a key figure in the formulation of the sin of sodomy and as an innovator in disciplinary discourse, he is not usually considered an advocate for what I would call, following Foucault, a queer aesthetics of the self. It would not, in fact, be inaccurate to call them angry texts, Peter himself having confessed that anger was the one vice he could never truly extirpate.
In the former, Peter asks the pope to instigate an extensive crackdown on the cancer then devouring the Church:. A certain abominable and most shameful vice has developed, and unless it be prevented as soon as possible by the severest punishment, it is certain that the sword of divine fury will be unsheathed, leading in its unchecked violence to the destruction of many. In the latter, he denounces the presumption of those who would forego flagellation as a penitential practice:.
What, I say, will you do when you behold Him for whose shame you have nothing but scorn, seated on the fiery throne of the tribunal of Heaven, and judging the whole human race in the dreadful judgment of His justice? By what rash boldness or presumption do you hope to share in His glory, whose shame and injuries you scorned to bear? The Book of Gomorrah is a paradoxical text in which vision plays a major role.
Peter claims the ability to see what cannot be seen [omnia visibilia et invisibilia], to see what others must wait until death to see, even to see what the sinner cannot see in himself. Arrogating to himself such powers is an act of overweening presumption: he challenges implicitly the authority of the Pope, implying that he has been soft on sodomites and dictating appro- priate punishment. A brief summary of the points to which he returns again and again should give a taste of his argument:.
The text is remarkable both for what it leaves out—almost any mention of gender, for example—as for its curious rhetoric. Or, rather, what takes shape as a result of his vision? The imaginary sodomite to whom he addresses his harangue is thus the silent subject for whom Peter speaks and whom he judges. This overtly sadistic and solipsistic scenario has Peter identifying with the gaze of the Other. He must therefore induce someone to identify himself as such, to answer his call, by providing the category within which that recognition can occur.
The subject can only truly know that he belongs to this cate- gory through identifying with others who have previously self-identified in the same way. In other words, Peter creates a category by claiming to have seen into the heart of his penitents, but he assumes that his subjects must already know of this category before he has defined it.
Given that Peter sees himself as allied with the Law, but a Lawgiver who can stand above the Law, he can only imagine the sodomite as someone who equally stands outside one Law while being subject to another. Peter clearly wants to see his ideal Christian community as occupying a similarly privileged position, that is to say remaining within the Law but also outside it, maintaining itself through extra-linguistic identificatory bonds that conform to his prescriptions.
As agent of this Lawgiver, Peter sets out to regulate masculine desire—not by banishing it from the community, as if one could, but by channeling it, creating performative categories through which it could be expressed, and redefining the transgressive routes through which it might travel. In spite of these innovations, Peter still presents himself as a theologian working within a doctrinal mode, his arguments based on traditional and authoritative texts.
Thus he strays frequently from the doctrinal to the imagistic mode in an attempt to produce a more shocking, and therefore more memorable effect on the reader. Sodomy should induce physical retching, not just moral condemnation. Thus, in violating the body of the Church, the sodomite violates the collective body, the identity from which he has now been banished, his mother and his former self.
This is, in fact, one of the few allusions to women one finds in the Gomorrhianus, other than a brief dis- cussion on the relative wickedness of raping nuns and goddaughters as opposed to animals or other males. Femininity acts then both as a wall that demarcates the male collective from the outside, a sort of womb that gives structure to the community but which has no place within, and as the devouring she-monster which attacks that wall and rapes the men within, the very embodiment of sodomy itself: This utterly diseased Queen of Sodom renders him who obeys the laws of her tyranny infamous to men and odious to God.
She mobilizes him in the militia of the evil spirit and forces him to fight unspeakable wars against God. She detaches the unhappy soul from the company of the angels and, depriv- ing it of its excellence, takes it captive under her domineering yoke. She strips her knights of the armor of virtue, exposing them to be pierced by the spears of every vice. She humiliates her slave in the church and condemns him in court; she defiles him in secret and dishonors him in public; she gnaws at this conscience like a worm and consumes his flesh like fire.
She who had once been mildly and gently nourished on the milk of sacred wisdom at the court of the eternal king, is now viciously infected with the poison of lust and lies rigid and distended in the sulphurous ashes of Gomorrah. This figure of the phallic female is then counterbalanced by that of the maternal male. Listen to how Peter, in one of his sermons, colonizes the female womb by placing it within the male body of the faithful: We must consider, dearly beloved, what a dignity is ours, and what a likeness there is between us and Mary.
Mary conceived Christ in her bodily womb, and we bear Him about in the womb of our mind. Mary fed Christ when she gave milk from her breasts to His tender lips; and we feed Him with the varied delights of our good works. Men may well conceive and breastfeed but their gender bending stops at sexual acts: these are always a corruptive force, extirpable only through violence. The Sodomite Within Up to this point, we could think that Damian conceives of sexual identi- ties entirely in terms of acts: the sodomite is someone who performs any of the four acts outlined in the first section of the Gomorrhianus.
He assumes that such men are rec- ognizable to one another while escaping the notice of most, and that they can therefore more easily dissolve within the larger community and infil- trate even the highest echelons of power. They are thus, like Peter, gifted with a sort of added vision, an ability to read the soul of their fellow monks, and to force recognition.
But, unlike Peter, they are assimilated to Satan, who, having been barred from creation, must now insinuate himself, through illicit entry, into the body of Christ. Elsewhere, however, Peter suggests that not all sodomites have such powers of vision. The solution he proposes is perfor- mative: call the sinner a sinner and he is a sinner. Subject him to ritualistic penance in the form of community ostracism and he will soon embrace that identity.
Thus, specific recommendations are given on punishment: public flogging, loss of tonsure, besmirching with spit, confinement in prison, iron chains, and a diet of barley bread suitable only for a horse or mule. These will then be followed by a less conspicuous regime guaranteed to cement this identity: a further six months living in a small segregated courtyard in the custody of a spiritual elder, kept busy with manual labor and prayer, subjected to vigils and prayers, forced to walk at all times in the company of two spiritual brothers, never again allowed to associate with young men for purposes of improper conversation or advice.
One could say that isolating the sodomite with other men in a confined space might send a mixed message, however Peter seems to think that sexual relations are likely to occur only between younger and older mem- bers of the community, or between two younger members. This is one of the most intriguing implications of his prescribed penance: there is no way to extirpate the possibility of sexual attraction between men other than to choose, somewhat arbitrarily, that it can only occur under preordained con- ditions and can only be contained by the penance he proffers.
As Foucault might say, this disciplinary practice is then eroticized, both as it defines erotic pathways and points toward transgressive possibilities. Let us begin by looking at what Leo Bersani has to say about sadomasochism:. Societies defined by those structures of dominance and submission both disguise and reroute the satisfactions, but their superficially self-preservative subterfuges can hardly liberate them from the aegis of the death drive. According to Freud, this death drive is always fused with eroticism, and Lacan agrees to a point, arguing that this drive, like all erotic drives strives toward an excess of jouissance, where pleasure becomes pain.
How blessed, how wonderful a sight! When the celestial Judge looks forth from heaven and man abases himself in atonement for his sins! I have laid hands upon myself, have taken revenge and offered myself in place of my sins. This is the victim which is made a living sacrifice, borne aloft by angels and offered to God. And thus the victim of the human body is invisibly joined to that unique sacrifice which was offered on the altar of the cross; thus is every sacrifice gathered into a single treasure, both that which each member and that which the head of all the elect has offered.
The self-punishing monk who finds within himself the judge, defendant, victim, and executioner is led to a state of imaginary wholeness that is then further fueled by the identification with the sacrificed Christ. A similar call to banish lack occurs in this probably ironical fantasy of sexual wholeness:. Tell us, you unmanly and effeminate man, what do you seek in another male that you do not find in yourself? What difference in sex, what varied features of the body? What tenderness, what softness of sensual charm? What smooth and delightful face? Male virility, I say, should terrify you, and you should shudder at the sight of manly limbs.
Therefore if the touch of the masculine flesh delights you, lay your hands upon yourself and be assured that whatever you do not find in yourself, you seek in vain in the body of another. What begins as a condemnation of sodomy as imaginary and narcissistic sounds, in the end, like a call to masturbation. Leo Bersani theorizes in Homos that effacement of lack might be the key to an understanding of same-sex desire and the foundation of a queer com- munity.
But he denounces it when it follows upon sexual debasement and humiliation, precisely because it suggests the possibility of independence from the community. Peter tries to harness the two by eroticizing, however subtly, the discipline, linking the loss of self to a theatricalization of domi- nance and submission, all performed for a controlling gaze.
Indeed, an ideal reading of the Gomorrhianus should itself function as an act of flagellation: a verbal laceration, self-imposed yet sent from the Other, a call that we answer and which serves to eliminate the self and instantiate the subject through a regime of scopophilic abjection. What most galls Peter, however, and it comes out repeatedly in his char- acterization of the imaginary sodomites around him, is that they do not play along with his script. Sodomites do not disintegrate through debase- ment; they stay undercover.
They do not even confess, except to one another. Or when he counsels his charges to: begin an unremitting struggle against the flesh, always standing armed against the dangerous disease of passion. Touching and seeing, united here in fantasy, allow us to take pleasure in this contemplation, as eroticism is conjoined with the embrace of death. After all, whatever can it be in the tombs of the dead that he thinks might please and delight? Not for him the pleasure of dissolution he counsels to others. He is not able to give up selfhood as his hundreds of texts testify or the power of vision, any more than his God is.
Peter needs the nameless sodomites he sees through the confessional curtain so as to secure that fantasy. The corporeal jouissance he preaches— self-flagellation and nonverbal communication, in very close quarters— might, from one perspective, gesture toward the impossibility of the sexual relation, queer or straight. But it also holds out the promise of an alter- native that he, and many since, have found alluring: subjectless bodies, sexless pleasure, a truly mimetic community in which someone is always watching.
Peter —72 was a prolific writer and preacher whose career included high church office as a papal ambassador and involvement in contemporary politics writing on such burning issues as the Investiture controversy and the role of simony. His first work was the Vita Romualdi, dated to , followed by several volumes of letters, sermons, and some fifty-three letters and trea- tises.
Strayer, ed. William C. Ruiz Princeton: Princeton University Press, , pp. See Michel Foucault, Surveiller et punir: naissance de la prison Paris: Gallimard, and the essays collected in Foucault Live: Interviews —, ed. In his De frenanda ira, Peter admitted that he was always prone to explosions of anger but learned to curb these outbursts through reason Opusculum Jacques-Paul Migne Paris, — Peter Damian, Letters 31—60, trans. Otto J.
Subsequent references to this translation of the Latin text of the Liber gomorrhianus are provided in parentheses in the text. Kurt Reindel, 4 vols. Munich: Monumenta Germaniae Historica, , —; subsequent references to the Latin are provided by page and line number. Quis, inquam, facies, cum eum, cujus nunc ignominiam despicis, aspexeris in igneo tribunalis exceis solio praesidentem, et omne genus humanum rescto acquitatis examine terribiliter judicantem?.
Qua fronte, qua praesumptionis audacia illius gloriam partic- ipare sperabis, cujus portare contumeliam et ignominiam despexisti? Mark Jordan calls attention to this same technique in his excellent discussion of this text in The Invention of Sodomy Chicago: University of Chicago Press, , pp. Foucault, Surveiller, chap. For biblical sources see Damian, Letters 31—60, ed. Blum; Owen J. Blum, St. Adversus Deum nefanda bella conserere, nequissimi spiritus imperat militiam baiulare, ab angelorum consortio separat et infelicem animam sub propriae dominationis iugo a sua nobilitate captivat.
Virtutum armis suos milites exuit omniumque vitiorum iaculis, ut confodiantur, exponit. Peter Damian, p. This follows from the conclusions he draws in his Liber gratissimus 25 PL c and his Dominus vobiscum 10 PL d that the individual is what it is only through its participation in the universal, as in the metaphor of the micro- and macrocosm cited in Blum, St.
Peter is using citations from the psalms and the Old Testament for example, Ps For a fuller discussion of this Foucauldian notion as it relates to theology, see Jeremy R. O quam insigne spectaculum! Ubi reus ipse, in pectoris sui tribunalibus praesidens, trifarium tenet officium; in corde se constituit judicem, reum in corpore, manibus se gaudet exhibere tortorem; ac si Deo sanctus poenitens dicat: Non opus est, Domine, ut officio tuo me punire praecipias; ipse mihi manus injicio, ipse de me vindictam capio, vicemque meis peccatis reddo.
Huic econtra spectaculo assistunt angeli, qui gaudent de peccatore converso; et hoc Deo gaudentes annuntiant, cum jam invisibilis Judex id ipsum per se delec- tabiliter cernat. Quam diversitatem sexuum, quae varia lini- amenta membrorum, quam mollitiem, quam carnalis illecebrae teneri- tudinem, quam lubrici vultus iocunditatem?
Terreat te, quaeso, vigor masculini aspectus, abhorreat mens tua viriles artus. Naturalis quippe appetitus officium est, ut hoc unusquisque extrinsecus quaerat, quod intra suae facultatis claustra reperire non valeat. Bersani, Homos, pp.
Site Search Navigation
Bersani, Homos, p. McNulty, p. Si luxurie flamma in ossibus estuat, portinus illam memoria perpetui ignis extinguat. It is now generally accepted that courtly reverence for the lady did not entail reverence for the female, and that courtly structures are as much about homosocial bonds as they appear to be about hetero- sexual love. Leaving aside the question of the socioeconomic circumstances that may have given Occitan women the freedom to be poets,2 how, many scholars have asked themselves, could they compose within such a seem- ingly masculinist tradition?
Critical opinion is thus frequently divided into two camps: those who believe the identity of these women poets to be a fiction created by male troubadours, and those who imagine them as the Virginia Woolfs of their day, creating embryonic feminist poetic practices of their own. In either case there is a problem in seeing the women trou- badours as troubadours. While spotlighting the overlooked or underestimated feminine aspects of a text, they leave in shadow that which is inassimilable to the feminine, or to a singular category of gender.
What remains in shadow under this new vision is just as troubling to it as the unacknowledged pres- ence of women troubadours is to a vision of troubadour culture as a whole. The reason for my suspicion is that, rather like the too highly focused vision that leaves shadows in its periphery, an excessive concern with the femininity of these texts reduces the considera- tion we give to them as troubadour texts, which surely is their overriding characteristic. Such a consonance between male authorship and masculine experience is not sought or even expected in texts attributed to male troubadours; but the minute one strips a female poet of her gender partic- ularity, her very existence risks being doubted.
To revisualize the trobairitz as troubadours is not about subsuming one gender into another, as impas- sioned feminist readers may fear, but about seeing the full span of gendered identities and combinations of desire that poetic invention makes possible. This is largely due to the trailblazing anthology of essays on the women troubadours edited by William Paden in and called The Voice of the Trobairitz.
In the introduction, Paden writes:. Trobairitz is very rare in medieval Occitan. It does not occur in lyric poetry, in the grammatical treatises, or in the biographies of the trobairitz or trou- badours; it seems to be found only once, in the thirteenth-century romance Flamenca. The impetus to contrast the trobairitz with the troubadours, which Paden argues for, has produced a problematic segregation of the two that not even the manuscript transmission of the poetry lends credence to; there are no separate chansonniers of poetry by the women troubadours, nor are they demarcated from the male troubadours in extant chansonniers.
It is as though the only axes along which we can plot our readings of this corpus of poetry are feminine voice or subject matter, and female authors, and indeed much of the early scholarship on the women troubadours follows precisely this pattern. Examples of such readings are the articles by Pierre Bec and Antoine Tavera who are both on the trail of feminine lyricism,6 or Joan Ferrante and Sophie Marnette in their efforts to identify a female rhetoric. While the corpus of the women troubadours is unarguably small, this in itself does not justify the perception of exclusion- ary or mutually resistant poetic practices determined by the sex of the poet.
The substantial number of tensos courtly debates between interlocutors of different genders, as well as the laudatory descriptions of women trouba- dours in the vidas and razos Occitan prose biographies of the troubadours or commentaries of their songs , all point to a more heterogeneous and collaborative poetic tradition than many critics have allowed themselves to see. Though I cannot avoid using it alto- gether, I would like to sharpen its contours by associating it with the process of identification in psychoanalysis.
Secondary identification may be said to be at work in the creation of troubadour identity. The troubadour seeks to acquire identity in relation to the beloved of whom he or she sings, since without that object of love there is no song, and at the same time seeks identification with other trou- badours. Clearly the troubadour cannot identify with the beloved, since that would nullify the subject position altogether, but that subject position is largely beholden to having an object of desire.
Similarly the troubadour desires to be a troubadour without desiring other troubadours as such, as in the Lacanian model of secondary identification, where the ego ideal is constituted by the father although the ego does not desire the father.
To illustrate this point I would like to take two poems. Na Maria, pretz e fina valors e. Per qe vos prec, si. For this I beg you, if it please you, that pure love 10 and delight and sweet humility may be of assistance to me with you, so that you will give me, lovely lady, if it please you, that which I most hope to enjoy, for in you I have my heart and my desire 15 and for you I have whatever happiness I have and for you I often go about sighing.
Because beauty and worth exalt you above all [women], so that none is superior to you, I beseech you, if it pleases you, for the honor it will bring you 20 not to love a false suitor. The critical controversy surrounding this poem is, very bluntly, whether or not the first person subject, assumed to be feminine, is a lesbian because she expresses desire for another woman. Although in the end Rieger does not wholly corroborate the lesbian hypothesis, she sticks to the idea that this poem does involve feminine identities and that there is an expression of tenderness, be it amicable or erotic, which subtends it.
In my view Rieger jumps the gun in her analysis of this poem. She launches into discussing the attributes of desire that the poem suggests without examining the identities implicated in that matrix of desire. Agency in the form of active verbs is definitely on the side of the first person subject. I now wish to look at the potential identifications for the first person subject. Where is the identity of the first person subject if it is so imbricated in the love object?
It is perhaps at this point that we can ask whether a fem- inine voice is identifying with the first person subject and beginning to expose it as a masquerade, an identity-assumption that exists only within the poem, and hence the warning not to love false admirers may refer not to others but to the first person subject itself. Throughout the poem the first person subject has appeared to assume the position customarily occupied by a lover, thus creating expectations as to that first person identity and the desire it expresses.
In effect, Azalais is acting as an intermediary between the lover and the lady, as she declares in the lines:. Such pronoun confusion heralds the commingling of the identities of Azalais and the lover, and the potential commingling of desire. After this, Azalais piles on the ardor, which, in a change from the earlier lines, is all expressed in the first person:. Interpreting this declaration of love again rests on the subject position that Azalais may be occupying.
To what extent is she therefore at liberty to speak from her own subject position? In pressing her own suit, is she not jeopardizing the embassy with which she has been entrusted on behalf of the male lover? Or is she using the first person subject in a changeable way, identifying sometimes with the Azalais announced in the third person in line 6, sometimes with the lover who has transferred his knowledge and desire for the lady on to Azalais?
I have italicized the parts where the intersubjective position of Azalais and the lover, or Azalais, the lover and the lady, occur. In lines 90—91 the lady is supposed to forgive the lover for the love she bears toward Azalais, and wholly for that reason. In line 93 the three of them are intertwined in the word—fianza—that Azalais gives as guarantee. Subject positions and intrasubjective relations are once more mediated and conjoined in the symbolic domain of language, in the word.
Clearly there are reasons to believe that the authors of these texts were women, but neither capitalizes on femininity any more than she does on masculinity. Instead she weaves in and out of subjective structures in relation to the other identities present in the text. This troubles not only the notion of essential or self-identical traits in the first person subject, but also the expected trajectories of desire between subjects and objects.
Kelly Oliver has made an important contribution to theories of identity and subjectivity in her book, Subjectivity without Subjects, and it is with refer- ence to this that I would like to conclude. It also resonates with the manner in which female troubadours coexist with male troubadours: though different subjects, they are involved in the same subjectivity.
Identity, according to Oliver, need not be a tyrannical exercise involving the abjec- tion of the other. For her this is also a matter of vision, as she writes in chapter nine with reference to phenomenological conceptions particularly those of Maurice Merleau-Ponty of self, space, and world:. The use of theories of identity as constructed through the exclusion or abjec- tion of the other is widespread—and not just among feminist theorists. I suggest that these theories are based on a faulty notion of space that views difference as distance and distance as void.
This view of space and vision leaves us forever cut off from the world outside ourselves unless we can incor- porate it and make it our own. In this view, difference and identity are oppo- sites because space is discrete and not fluid; two things cannot be in the same place at the same time unless they are identical. But, if we replace this model with one of circulation that links vision to the other more proximal senses, we see that there is no inherent gap between us and the world outside.
If they once served to identify identities in obscu- rity, they are insufficient to illuminate the vast and intricate network that produced them. This open vista of gender interplay in troubadour culture may well trouble our sense of what constituted that culture, but the view will certainly be exhilarating. I am grateful to Simon Gaunt for drawing my attention to this dissertation.
The Voice of the Trobairitz, ed. These folios nonetheless contain texts by male troubadours interspersed among those of the women troubadours, interpreted idiosyncratically by Elizabeth Wilson Poe as a satirical denigration of the latter because she equates misogyny with anti-trobairitz sentiment. Joan M. This quick example situates us in feminist and gender criticism, which are powerful theories that allow literary critics to examine sex and gender in various texts. Alice begins to do that for us in the excerpt we just read. The excerpt also highlights some essential notions about feminist and gender criticism, which we learn more about a bit later in this chapter.
We will also complicate this notion in the section on gender criticism, for the male-female heterosexual dynamic excludes gay and lesbian identity, as well as bisexual and transgendered selves. In addition, though Alice claims that she is a girl, the Pigeon is adamant about her being a serpent , which cleverly calls to mind larger themes in feminist criticism that date back to biblical times.
Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, eds. We should add one further dynamic to our discussion about Alice. When she claims that she is a girl , Alice also suggests that she is not a boy , highlighting the fact that the gender construction of men is important. Masculinity studies focuses on the social construction of maleness and how stereotypes of what is constituted as being male become a profound force on how men and women act in society. The film begins with nineteen-year-old Alice not the seven-year-old of the novel being confronted with an unwanted marriage proposal; at nineteen, Alice is expected to marry, and to marry well.
But Alice has no desire to be wed and escapes her predicament by following the white rabbit down the rabbit hole to the fantastical world, where she encounters a variety of strange creatures and adventures. At the end of the movie, she returns to the real Victorian world and stands up for her right not to wed. She succeeds, and the end of the movie finds her being an apprentice which is typically reserved for men in a shipping business where she will travel to China to open trade routes.
Or is he, too, being subjected to the gender expectations of men? And what of all those odd characters that Alice meets? We hope that our chapter on feminist and gender criticism uses words precisely so that these important theories are clear and penetrable. Boil duck, onion, and celery until tender. Remove meat from bones. Set aside. Cook rice. Stir in flour and half-and-half to make cream sauce. Add parsley and seasonings. Add cooked duck, rice, mushrooms, and almonds to cream sauce. Serves 6—8. Put rice in bottom of buttered oblong casserole dish. Place birds on top of rice. Sprinkle peppers and onion on top.
Serves 6. The recipes reflect a particular view of women and their role in the domestic space. Even the use of Mrs. We are in the realm of patriarchy Ideology, or belief system of a society, of male domination over women that pervades the public and private spheres. The play was first performed by the Provincetown Players in Massachusetts, with Glaspell playing the role of Mrs. The inspiration for the play came from a murder reported in the Des Moines Register.
MRS HALE is larger and would ordinarily be called more comfortable looking, but she is disturbed now and looks fearfully about as she enters. The women have come in slowly, and stand close together near the door. WHEN Martha Hale opened the storm-door and got a cut of the north wind, she ran back for her big woolen scarf. As she hurriedly wound that round her head her eye made a scandalized sweep of her kitchen. It was no ordinary thing that called her away—it was probably farther from ordinary than anything that had ever happened in Dickson County.
Seeing Sodomy: An Interview with Robert Mills – NOTCHES
But what her eye took in was that her kitchen was in no shape for leaving; her bread all ready for mixing, half the flour sifted and half unsifted. She hated to see things half done; but she had been at that when the team from town stopped to get Mr. Hale, and then the sheriff came running in to say his wife wished Mrs. Hale would come too—adding, with a grin, that he guessed she was getting scarey and wanted another woman along. So she had dropped everything right where it was. Edward J. When we turn to the Trifles example, we see how a writer uses this domestic space and its implications to create a symbolic statement about gender.
This naming becomes important in the play, for the suspected murderer Minnie Wright is referred to as Minnie Foster by Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Furthermore, the setting of the play is important—all the action on stage takes place in the kitchen, a kitchen that is in disarray. The great irony of the play and short story is that the women discover the evidence—the strangled bird—that would be enough to convict Minnie of murder, but they withhold this evidence, thus implying that Minnie will be set free.
The women create their own justice system, becoming a jury of their peers: women. Feminism Movement that strives for societal change to make women equal to men in the public and private spheres. They focus on four central points:. Anything less than this vision of total freedom is not feminism, but merely female self-aggrandizement.
Therefore it is necessarily a struggle to eradicate the ideology of domination that permeates Western culture on various levels, as well as a commitment to reorganize society so that the self-development of people can take precedence over imperialism, economic expansion, and material desires. London: Pluto, Feminist literary criticism is also about this commitment to equality, to change, and it works its way by arguing that literature is a powerful cultural force that mirrors gender attitudes. Feminist literary criticism can be categorized into three stages: patriarchal criticism, gynocriticism, and feminine writing.
About This Item
Patriarchal criticism Literary method that examines how writers—particularly male writers—depict women in literature; this criticism often highlights the sexist stereotypes that privilege men over women. Such criticism analyzes the way that canonical authors—mostly men—create images of women. Scott Fitzgerald silences Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby , further reinforcing the notion that this great American novel depicts women in demeaning ways.
This criticism is often focused on close textual study since it will examine how men and women are depicted in literary texts. Patriarchal criticism will be central to this chapter. Gynocriticism Literary method that focuses on women writers and how they depict issues related to being a woman in a patriarchal culture. Nancy A. Another interesting example is the evolution of The Norton Anthology of English Literature , which reflects the insertion of women into the canon.
The edition for , M. Abrams, ed. New York: W. Norton, The latest eighth edition of this anthology, Stephen Greenblatt and M. Abrams, eds. What does it mean, consequently, when there are no representations of women? This evolution about women and literature is mirrored in the evolving contents of the Norton anthology, which also reflects the evolving canon that is more inclusive, particularly to women writers.
The first stage is Imitation or Feminine —80 , where women imitated men. Richard J. Dunn New York: Norton, George Eliot, Middlemarch , ed. Bert G. Hornback New York: Norton, Kate Chopin is an example of this stage, as is Virginia Woolf. Finally, the third stage, Self-Discovery or Female — , becomes more radical as women turn inward toward the female, toward the body, creating works that mirror a writing particular to women. As you can see, to narrowly define feminist literary criticism is difficult, for there are a myriad of approaches to take.
Feminism is often referred to in the plural—feminisms—because there is such diversity within feminism about core terms and philosophies. Warhol and Diane Price Herndl. Robyn R. Warhol and Diane Price Herndl, eds. A look at this table of contents will show you the complexity of feminist literary criticism and provide you with some ideas to focus your feminist paper on. Gender criticism is an extension of feminist literary criticism, focusing not just on women but on the construction of gender and sexuality, especially LGBTQ issues, which gives rise to queer theory.
Gender criticism suggests that power is not just top down or patriarchal—a man dominating a woman; it suggests that power is multifaceted and never just in one direction. For example, in the nineteenth century while many women argued for suffrage or the right to vote , at the same time those very women who were white could be dominating or holding power over African Americans in the American slave system.
But that idealized view of women is incomplete given that we know from diaries and other historical evidence that white women could have sexual longing shocking! Thus identity is complicated and rich, involving much more than gender alone. It is the intersection of a variety of things—including geographical location, age, race, class, nationality, ability, and sexuality as well as gender—that make up our identities. A key to gender criticism, consequently, is that gender is a socially constructed ideology that is reflected in our culture and political, social, economic, educational, and religious institutions and is coded in the very language we use.
Oxford English Dictionary , s. Like feminism, gender criticism examines how gender is caught between the notion of essentialism Belief that sex and gender are biologically determined, or natural, thus suggesting an essential difference between men and women. At the end of chapter 10, Jim and Huck determine that the best way to find information so that the two can avoid capture is to have Huck put on a disguise and go into the nearby town:. I said I reckoned I would slip over the river and find out what was going on.
Jim liked that notion; but he said I must go in the dark and look sharp. That was a good notion, too. So we shortened up one of the calico gowns, and I turned up my trouser-legs to my knees and got into it. Jim hitched it behind with the hooks, and it was a fair fit. I put on the sun-bonnet and tied it under my chin, and then for a body to look in and see my face was like looking down a joint of stove-pipe. Jim said nobody would know me, even in the daytime, hardly. I took notice, and done better. In the next chapter, Huck, dressed as a girl, meets Mrs. Judith Loftus. Huck tells her his name is Sarah Williams, and Mrs.
Loftus asks Huck-Sarah to help her with a few tasks, such as throwing a piece of lead at a rat and helping with threading a needle. When she tosses an extra piece of lead to Huck-Sarah, his true identity as a boy is exposed. After Huck tells Mrs. Loftus that his name is George, she criticizes his attempt to fool her:. You do a girl tolerable poor, but you might fool men, maybe.
And when you throw at a rat or anything, hitch yourself up a tiptoe and fetch your hand up over your head as awkward as you can, and miss your rat about six or seven foot. Throw stiff-armed from the shoulder, like there was a pivot there for it to turn on, like a girl; not from the wrist and elbow, with your arm out to one side, like a boy. Why, I spotted you for a boy when you was threading the needle; and I contrived the other things just to make certain. Keep the river road all the way, and next time you tramp take shoes and socks with you.
Judith Loftus views sexuality as essentialist—there are real, innate differences between a girl and boy, which perpetuate the stereotypes about gender. Another way to view her comments, however, is to acknowledge that gender is a performance, a role that we play or construct. Halperin New York: Routledge, , — Halperin New York: Routledge, In addition, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, a prominent queer theorist, suggests culture is so heteronormative Act of making heterosexuality the cultural norm. Homosocial worlds include all-male contexts like boarding schools, the military, and sports.
It would require heterosexual men to potentially break out of certain norms of how they are supposed to act. This idea that some expressions or identities are invisible and then visible once you have a particular lens to see them theorists call this ideology is as important to feminist literary criticism as it is to gender and sexuality criticism.
Spermaceti is the wax or oil in the skull of the sperm whale, and this oil was valuable and used to make candles and various ointments. This interpretation changes the way we may traditionally read the book:. Such an abounding, affectionate, friendly, loving feeling did this avocation beget; that at last I was continually squeezing their hands, and looking up into their eyes sentimentally; as much as to say,—Oh!
Come; let us squeeze hands all round; nay, let us all squeeze ourselves into each other; let us squeeze ourselves universally into the very milk and sperm of kindness. After this paragraph, Ishmael states,. Would that I could keep squeezing that sperm for ever! For now, since by many prolonged, repeated experiences, I have perceived that in all cases man must eventually lower, or at least shift, his conceit of attainable felicity; not placing it anywhere in the intellect or the fancy; but in the wife, the heart, the bed, the table, the saddle, the fire-side, the country; now that I have perceived all this, I am ready to squeeze case eternally.
In thoughts of the visions of the night, I saw long rows of angels in paradise, each with his hands in a jar of spermaceti. Ultimately, gender and sexuality theorists go back in history and look at who might have been left out. Where are there absences in the canon such that gay and lesbian authors and characters might be included? And when gay and lesbian characters are present, how are they perceived? However, she also wrote a secret novel, The Hermaphrodite , which featured a male gender-bending protagonist who loves both sexes but particularly another man.
Julia Ward Howe, The Hermaphrodite , ed. Once discovered, this book was a shocking addition to the profile people had created of Howe. Just as feminist literary criticism and gender and sexuality criticism consider how identity shapes us, so does masculinity studies A fairly recent movement, influenced by feminism and gender criticism, that examines how men are defined by their maleness. The first commercial while objectifying women, also suggests that the core audience for the commercial is men, who naturally objectify women.
For example, consider the difference of a girl being called a tomboy or a boy being called a sissy. Which is worse? Typically for a young man to be called a sissy is a kind of social death. When a man is compared to someone who is perceived to have less power, in this instance a woman, then he is considered less manly and, therefore, by implication he must be gay, which creates pressure for men to conform to one idea of maleness.
Media representations constantly assert what is proper masculinity, and it typically involves being a violent, hypersexual thug who is never dominated but only dominates. How does this construction of masculinity affect maleness in literature? Jake loves the femme fatale Brett Ashley, but he has been wounded in the war and is impotent. Masculinity studies often points out how this supposed misogyny is created by accepted definitions of how men should act. We can see more clearly through the lens of masculinity studies how gender norms are not exclusive to women but also affect men, which in turn affects the scope of a text.
Feminist and gender criticism are powerful literary methods that you can use to analyze literature. Be guided by the following process as you write your feminist or gender criticism paper. Construct a working thesis that makes a claim about the work and accounts for the following:.
We recommend that you follow this process for every paper that you write from this textbook. Of course, these steps can be modified to fit your writing process, but the plan does ensure that you will engage in a thorough reading of the text as you work through the writing process, which demands that you allow plenty of time for reading, reflecting, writing, reviewing, and revising. The Great Gatsby may be the one novel that a majority of readers have read. In other words, The Great Gatsby is a cultural icon, at least for American readers.
Gretchen is a meticulous planner of her papers, as the focus on her process demonstrates. Originally, Gretchen wrote a journal entry exploring possible topics for her paper, particularly related to key symbols in the novel. I definitely want to write about Gatsby, and my favorite scene is when he tosses the shirts about and Daisy starts crying. Depending on what I find when I start researching, my thesis will be that the shirts and books are symbolic of Gatsby himself: real, but unopened. With this tentative focus in mind, Gretchen skims through the novel, copying quotes that relate to her original idea as well as other passages that catch her interest.
After revising her thesis, finding secondary sources on her topic, and creating a new outline, Gretchen is ready to start composing her essay. The following is her first draft, which she brought to class for a peer-review workshop. Before the tragic sequence of events begins to unfold in F. However, it is precisely because Daisy Buchanan is the girl of his dreams that their relationship is destined to fail. By simultaneously turning his dream-Daisy into an impossible ideal of love and a cheap symbol of material wealth, he loses any connection he might have had with the real, flawed person she truly is.
Material possessions become the physical embodiment of the perfect love Gatsby pursues. Clearly, Gatsby is more concerned with appearances than reality when it comes to his library—as long as his guests are impressed by its grandeur, the specific titles on its shelves are of no consequence. As is the case with the books, Gatsby purchases vast quantities of clothing in order to impress Daisy. As part of the tour he gives Daisy, Gatsby tosses his expensive shirts in the air—a colorful display reminiscent of a peacock flashing bright feathers at a potential mate.
Gatsby cannot take credit for their fashionable colors, however. He is not interested in personally selecting his own clothing, but delegates his shopping to an unnamed man in England Fitzgerald Mundane details such as color, cut, or fabric are immaterial to Gatsby, just as title and author make no difference in his selection of books.
That material betterment can be used to achieve the evanescent, intangible ideal of love is the aspect which interests Gatsby. Using material objects, Gatsby builds his dream of being with Daisy. Because Gatsby constructs his life using dreams and meaningless material objects, it is structurally unsound, too fragile to reach the lofty heights he wants to attain. Ignoring this, he takes his idealism to such an extreme that he is unable to cope with the impossibility of his dream being realized—any forced confrontation with reality topples his tower of dream-bricks.
Yet confrontation with reality is inevitable. To be human is to be flawed, to be dynamic rather than static—a concept Gatsby does not seem to grasp. He spends years waiting to be reunited with the girl he remembers, only to be disappointed when she does not measure up to the memory he has stretched and distorted into an impossible ideal. There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams—not through her own fault but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion.
It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart. Fitzgerald By continuously embellishing his memory of Daisy with his own creative touches, Gatsby unintentionally ensures that the memory, or more accurately the dream, will surpass the reality and leave him disappointed and confused. The confusion sets in when Gatsby encounters the green light for the first time after he is reunited with Daisy:.
Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one. Like the books and shirts, it is a tangible object valued by Gatsby not for its own worth, but for the deeper meaning it holds.
Yet the green light is inescapably linked to money itself—the green paper currency that enables Gatsby to present himself to Daisy. Just mention my name. Or present a green card. With this statement, the connection between Daisy and material wealth loses its innocence. Money is no longer just a means for Gatsby to attain the loftier, more beautiful dream of love; it has an allure of its own. Her vibrant charm, the source of which Nick could never discern, is falsely linked to material wealth. Fetterley, Judith.
Bloomington: Indiana UP, Fitzgerald, F. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, Person, Leland S. Will, Barbara. We told you that Gretchen was a meticulous planner, so she went through the novel again and constructed a detailed outline of evidence that will guide her as she revises her paper with the new focus. Note that the opening of the paper is two paragraphs, and it will be useful to compare her introduction in the final version to the original introductory paragraph.
A typical reading of F. He worships this dream-Daisy as an impossible ideal of love and devotes himself to achieving wealth and status in order to win her affection. Ironically, his idealism prevents him from achieving his goal. By simultaneously distorting Daisy into an ideal of love and a cheap symbol of material wealth, he loses any connection he might have had with the real, flawed person she truly is.
As the novel progresses, Daisy loses her voice—literally and metaphorically—when it is overwhelmed by the incessant clamor of the more forceful males. Reduced to a symbol, and then to a sham of a symbol, Daisy is devalued by men even as they claim to love her. While Nick is certainly justified in recognizing the power of a voice, the idea that Daisy, of all people, desires control over others is laughable.
She is not attempting to lure hapless men into a deathtrap with her siren-song—she only wants to preserve what remains of her own voice, and ultimately is unable to even accomplish that. Her voice is indeed a weapon, but she does not use it as such; instead, it is used against her by Gatsby, Tom, and Nick. They are long-lost lovers, reunited after years of separation, and he positively worships her. Even Gatsby cannot ignore his own impracticality, as his reunion with Daisy illustrates:. By continuously embellishing his memory of Daisy, Gatsby unintentionally ensures that the memory—or more accurately, the dream—will surpass any possible reality and disappoint him.
As Nick watches:. His hand took hold of hers and as she said something low in his ear he turned toward her with a rush of emotion. For all his professions of love, Gatsby fails to comprehend the emotive power of the human voice. These emotions are essential to one particularly telling scene: when Gatsby tosses his shirts into the air to show off his wealth.
As Leland S. As Gatsby flaunts his material wealth in front of her eyes, Daisy begins to understand his motives, and subsequently feels the loss of her ideal lover. The beautiful shirts upset her because she realizes that they are representative of herself: desirable, but material.
Gatsby believes that he wants to be with Daisy, but he actually wants to have Daisy—a very different goal. Eventually, like Nick and Tom, he views her as nothing more than a material object—a symbol of power, but herself powerless. Before Tom and Gatsby do verbal battle over Daisy, she desperately tries to calm them, using her beautiful voice. At this moment, both Tom and Gatsby realize that neither can feel secure in his relationship with Daisy without seizing total control over her voice.
First painted as a portrait of perfection, Daisy is now reduced to a crude symbol of power in its most vulgar form: money. Her beautiful voice is no longer a human quality, or even a superhuman quality. Instead, it is a mere object: something to be bought, sold, and fought over. By objectifying Daisy, the men can fight for control; whoever suppresses her voice most completely will be the winner.
Though the confrontation between Tom and Gatsby affects Daisy most of all, she cannot participate. The men take it upon themselves to speak for her, leaving her powerless. Whichever man she chooses—and choosing neither is never suggested as a possibility—will overpower her voice with his own. Both men speak for her without once asking how she feels. At one point, Gatsby answers when Tom addresses Daisy directly Fitzgerald The erasure of her voice is complete when Gatsby launches into a lengthy defense of his good name:.
The voice begged again to go. Not only must Gatsby face the death of his dream, but also Daisy. As he struggles to control her by smothering her voice with his own, he destroys the very quality he has always found most alluring in Daisy. He refuses to believe that she might be capable of knowing—and speaking—her own mind. And he is right in that respect: after all he and Tom have done to stifle her voice, how could she speak for herself? The last time we see Daisy, she is both literally and metaphorically mute:. Once in a while she looked up at him and nodded in agreement.
She is no longer a captivating woman with a beautiful voice; Gatsby, aided by Nick and Tom, has destroyed that voice forever. She cannot give of herself when her voice, her identity, is stolen and destroyed by male tyranny. Queer readings of texts often challenge the accepted interpretations of texts and open up the literary work to new critical debate.
- Change Password.
- Sugar Creek.
- 49th Publication Design Annual.
- ICT and Innovation in the Public Sector: European Studies in the Making of E-Government!
- About this book;
- The Mummy Returns (The Mummy Chronicles)!
In Victorian culture, discussing sex was inappropriate, so literature from the period could not use sexually explicit language or ideas; if it did, it would risk not being well-received, or even published. Although Willa Cather is a modernist in literary terms, her writing emerges in an age that Victorian morality shaped, a time when sexuality was a thing not discussed. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick claims that as a result of overlooking or ignoring the sexual temperament of authors and their characters, readers condemn literature to remain in the field of power that misinterpreted it.
She claims that landmark texts such as Dorian Gray and Billy Budd enact this double sexual identity. Although they both depict same-sex, erotic love, traditional interpretations veil the texts with a pretense of heterosexuality and integrate them into the literary canon as such. Since Cather was very particular about transmitting her personal information and writing into the public sphere, retrieving particular insight leads to an array of conflicting images.
Moreover, contemporary aspects of literature include Cather as an essential author within gay and lesbian anthologies. The certainty by which many interpretations claim Cather as a lesbian rely on her long-standing, intense female relationships and her avoidance of marriage proposals from various men. Considering these conflicting ideas, scholars have more successfully shifted from speculation of sexual preference to examining the social implications of her adoption of a masculine persona. From age 14 through her first two years at the University of Nebraska, Cather cropped her hair short, wore the clothes of a young man, and called herself William, Willie, or Will Begley 2.
Primarily, the sexual implicitness of the story demonstrates reticence in two important ways. It shows the difficulty of writing about homosexuality in He formulates the history of homosexuality as follows:. At this point in history, homosexuality was no longer act-specific; it became a type of personality, rather than perverse recreation.
Whatever is felt upon the page without being specifically named there—that, one might say, is created. It is the inexplicable presence of the thing not named, of the overtone divined by the ear but not heard by it, the verbal mood, the emotional aura of the fact or the thing or the deed, that gives high quality to the novel or the drama, as well as to poetry itself. Cather 41— What is Paul lying about?
His teachers are also perplexed. They never adorn their austere image with violets, while Paul splashes violet water on his body. While Cather confines the description of this bourgeois mundanity to Cordelia Street, aspects of the passionate and theatrical world Paul yearns to enter, akin to the famous triumphs of the cash-boys, are scattered throughout the story. Cather uses gay four times; also, airy , exhilarated , flourishes , suppression , charming , exotic , glistening , perverted , tempt , corrupt , thronged , fag , and fagged charge the story with energy.
Instead, he gives in, hurtling himself in front of a moving train.