Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sesquipedalian Conversations

Tendencies, a book of essays by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, looks at the use of gender politics in critical analysis in modern America. It raises some interesting points about the assumptions made by almost all authors and readers, assumptions about the sexuality of the reader (the straight male reader, in most cases). But so often the languages pumps itself up to silly heights, desperately seeking one more goofy synonym to round out a list. I love reading essays with complex thoughts, essays where you have to pay attention to follow the ideas, but these often seemed purposefully opaque, like the point of the essay was to say nothing but say it stridently. And it didn't help that I haven't read many of the works directly addressed (now I'm talking like her!), such as The Wings of the Dove, or the movie Pink Flamingos. The final piece, "White Glasses," was a more personal homage to a friend, and I found it much more powerful.

Anyway, it was a disappointment to me. I had heard the author recommended by someone I trust, but I couldn't get the titles they mentioned -- Between Men and Epistemology of the Closet. Maybe these essays aren't a good showcase. C-.

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