Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

By Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

Hailed through the New York Times as "one of the main influential texts in gender reviews, men's reviews and homosexual studies," this e-book uncovers the homosocial wish among males, from recovery comedies to Tennyson's Princess.

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Either love brings its male subject into relation with other males, but that relation may confirm or subvert the position of the subject. Even concerning the dark lady, the response to sharing sexual territory with other men may be unexpectedly, if briefiy, exhilarated. It is a way of participating in a supraindividual male power over women, and of being Swan in Love: The Example of Shakespeare's Sonnets 37 dose to more fully entitled males. Two consecutive sonnets make an especially important example of the mechanisms of and internal threats to this exhilaration.

1 will, however, be arguing that homophobia directed by men against men is misogynistic, and perhaps transhistorically so. ) The greatest potential for misinterpretation lies here. Because "homosexuality" and "homophobia" are, in any of their avatars, historical constructions, because they are likely to concern themselves intensely with each other and to assume interlocking or mirroring shapes, because the theater of their struggle is likely to be intrapsychic or intra-institutional as well as public, it is not always easy (sometimes barely possible) to distinguish them from each other.

There results from this scheme a SUfprising neutralization of polarities: heterosexuality in the male . . presupposes a homosexual phase as the condirion of its normal possibility: h0010sexuality, obversely, requires that the child experience a powerful heterosexual identificaríon. 2 1 have mentioned that Girard's reading presents itself as one whose synunetry is undisturbed by such differences as gender; although the triangles that most shape his view tend, in the European tradition, to inyolve bonds of "rivalry" between males "over" a woman, in his vie\v any reIation of rivalry is structured by the same play of emulation and identification, whether the entities occupying the corners of the triangle be heroes, heroines, gods, books, or whatever.

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