Friday, December 06, 2013

Be Careful on the Runway: ON STYLE: AN ATELIER


Style, more than species, is what distinguishes the howl of the wolves saluting the moon from the songs of the neighborhood dogs rising over fences and alleyways. 
~Valerie Vogrin 

Aesthetic form is a spellbinding (or not) attempt to transmit and circulate affect, without which not much happens at all. 
~L.O. Aranye Fradenburg

I am THRILLED to announce today that we have finally published ON STYLE: AN ATELIER, edited by myself and Anna Klosowska, with the assistance of Mon. Sparkles Joy [who may be the first Papillon to be listed as an assistant editor on an academic book, but he IS an expert on fashion, after all: Ask Mon. Sparkles Joy]. The volume comprises essays presented on two linked panels that addressed the intersections between scholarship and style, co-organized by Anne Clark Bartlett and myself, at the 2010 International Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo, Michigan and the first meeting of the BABEL Working Group in Austin, Texas in 2010. Contributors include: Valerie Allen, Gila Aloni, Kathleen Biddick, Ruth Evans, Jessica Roberts Frazier, Anna Klosowska, Christine Neufeld, Michael Snediker, and Valerie Vogrin.

PLEASE REMEMBER that all punctum books are open-access and free to download [and are also available in handsome print editions], and that open access is NEVER EVER NEVER free. So much uncompensated time and labor goes into each punctum volume, and I urge you to understand that open-access initiatives cannot and will not thrive unless all of us recognize our responsibility to help make that the case. When you go to download the book there is a pop-up window that asks you to consider making a donation to the press. PLEASE DO. Do not send me flowers or chocolates or diamonds for the holidays, although I love getting those from all of you each year. Instead, please help me make my dreams come true by donating something, no matter how small, to punctum books.

I will share with everyone here my short Preface to the book, and also Anna Klosowska's delicious "Reader's Guide":

On Style: A Prefatory Note

Scholarship in medieval studies of the past 20 or so years has offered some provocative experiments in, and elegant exempla of, style. Medievalists such as Anne Clark Bartlett, Kathleen Biddick, Catherine Brown, Brantley Bryant, Michael Camille, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Carolyn Dinshaw, James Earl, L.O. Aranye Fradenburg, Roberta Frank, Amy Hollywood, Cary Howie, C. Stephen Jaeger, Eileen Joy, Anna Kłosowska, Nicola Masciandaro, Peggy McCracken, Paul Strohm, David Wallace, and Paul Zumthor, among others, have blended the conventions of academic writing with those of fiction, drama, memoir, comedy, polemic, and lyricism, and/or have developed what some would describe as elegant, and arresting (and in some cases, deliciously difficult) prose styles. As these registers merge, they can produce what has been called a queer historiographical encounter (or in queer theorist Elizabeth Freeman’s terms, “an erotohistoriography”), a “poetics of intensification,” and even a “new aestheticism.” The work of some of these scholars has also opened up debates (some rancorous) that often install what the editors of this volume feel are false binaries between form and content, feeling and thinking, affect and rigor, poetry and history, attachment and critical distance, enjoyment and discipline, style and substance.

In his essay, “The Application of Thought to Medieval Studies: The Twenty-First Century”—Exemplaria 22.1 (2010): 85–94—D. Vance Smith worries that some medieval scholars’ desire for “relevance has come at a cost of a creeping anti-intellectualism,” and in the work of certain scholars, such as Carolyn Dinshaw in her book Getting Medieval (1999), who are interested, especially, in self-reflexivity, affect, and the haptic, Smith worries further that, although Dinshaw’s work possesses scholarly “rigor,” its style and method is ultimately “inimitable” (because a “scrupulous adherence” to its call for the importance of incommensurability would render imitation impossible, as if that would be the point of following in Dinshaw’s footsteps, anyway). What Smith is really concerned about, it appears (from this essay, anyway) is that “the danger of valuing affect so highly is that doing so attributes to it an epistemological and even ontological difference so radical as to exclude other categories of representation—that is, to deny these other categories the difference necessary to their work of identification and representation.” And further, “the installment of affect as an historiographical mode” might even be “insidious,” a product, ultimately, of our own “self-interest” and “narcissism.” But who says this is exactly the case—that affect’s epistemological and ontological difference is so “radical” that it excludes other categories of representation? Certainly not Dinshaw, nor, really, any of us who work on affect, the haptic, queer historiographical modes, etc. And regardless, as Anna Kłosowska writes in her contribution to this volume,
The question of style, as it applies to medieval studies, is precisely the overcoming of that dichotomy between Nature and Man: a third element. And when the critique proceeds through the denunciation of the inimitability of someone’s style, as if it were the third sex, ungenerative, queer, sterile, sodomitic, lesbian, etc., the critic unconsciously puts his finger on exactly what style is; but that critic is mistaken about the style’s supposedly non-generative powers. In fact, style, neither fact nor theory but facilitating the transition between the two, is . . . the generative principle itself.
Ultimately, the question of style—and isn’t affect itself a style, a mode, or mood, a way of inhabiting and moving, artfully and creatively, through the world, of sensing one’s, or anyone’s, place at any given moment in a way that helps us to thrive (and we’re to be on our guard against this)?—asks us to consider the ways in which, as much as one might want to insist otherwise, everything is hopelessly (and yet somehow also marvellously) entangled: self and Other, sense and articulation, form and content, personal self and scholarly self, observer and observed, past and present, and so on.

What, then, can be said about the ‘style’ of academic discourse at the present time, especially in relation to historical method, theory, and reading literary and historical texts, especially within premodern studies? Is style merely supplemental to scholarly (so-called) substance? As scholars, are we subjects of style? And what is the relationship between style and theory? Is style an object, a method, or something else? These were the questions that guided two conference sessions initially instigated by Anne Clark Bartlett and organized by the BABEL Working Group in 2010 (in Kalamazoo, Michigan and Austin, Texas), out of which this volume was developed.

On Style: An Atelier gathers together medievalists and early modernists, as well as a poet and a novelist, in order to offer ruminations upon style in scholarship and theoretical writing (with exempla culled from Roland Barthes, Carolyn Dinshaw, Lee Edelman, Bracha Ettinger, Charles Fourier, L.O. Aranye Fradenburg, Heidegger, Lacan, Ignatius of Loyola, and the Marquis de Sade, among others), as well as upon various trajectories of fashionable representation and self-representation in literature, sculpture, psychoanalysis, philosophy, religious history, rhetoric, and global politics. As you are reading this volume and dwelling in its atelier, please remember to wear your tenses lightly and to always, always, be fierce.

Eileen A. Joy
Washington, DC


On Style
A Reader’s Guide

Anna Kłosowska

When George-Louis de Buffon, naturalist and mathematician—calculus, probablility, Buffon’s needle—devoted to style his acceptance lecture at French Academy (1753), he said that “well-written works are the only ones that will be passed on to posterity. . . . small objects [such as] knowledge, facts and discoveries are easily taken up, transported, and even gain from being put together by more nimble hands. These things are outside of man, the style is the man himself.”[1] In the coda to this volume, Valerie Vogrin reminds us that Victor Hugo, in his Function of Beauty, fulminates against small bourgeois minds that relegate style to the background: “Style is ideas. Ideas are style. Try to tear away the word: it’s the idea that you lose. . . . Style is the essence of a subject, constantly called to the surface.”[2] It seemed to us that the question of style, cognate as it is to the question of the role of the humanities, needs to be asked about theory in medieval studies. In this collection, style is instantiated (we have assembled a breathtaking cast) as well as thematized and theorized. Christine Neufeld writes in the conclusion to her essay in this volume: “Perceiving this aesthetic relation to the past does not free us from a sense of accountability to the delicate, tattered fabric of history that both touches us and exceeds our grasp.” In other words, we study style in this collection because it instantiates and theorizes the relation we have to the past, our subject. These are (again, via Neufeld), “the issues the Style project represents for medieval scholars: how to contend with the ‘immaterial’ intensities of our scholarship, the effects and affects of being touched by the past.” We wanted the volume that resulted from our collaboration to be as stylish as it is functional: our introduction offers a map of the contributions as well as wardrobe suggestions. But—to cadge from Hugo again—each author has “a way of writing that one has alone, a fold that imperiously marks all writing, one’s own way of touching and handling an idea.”[3] So, reading the introduction is a bit like reading the label on the pint of gelato.
                  Valerie Allen, in “Without Style,” focuses on the definition of style as an arrangement and, especially, as “an ethical disposition effected by that arrangement.” She maps “formative turns” in the history of the concept of style: the opposition between Plato (philosophy) and the Sophists (rhetoric) that privileges the former, the sixteenth-century splitting of the five canons of rhetoric (invention, arrangement, style, memory, delivery) into two, philosophy (invention, arrangement) and rhetoric (style and delivery, “shorn of content”), a model associated with French humanist Peter Ramus (Pierre de la Ramée), and finally the logical turn, both in positivist philosophy and mathematical logics, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Allen quickly shows that this last turn, privileging rigorous notation over always indeterminate language, provoked a correction in the guise of pragmatics, with J.L. Austin showing that “ordinary words” have complex claims on agency just as well as the formalized meta-language does. Although the plain, non-rhetorical style of critical writing depends on numerous shortcuts—abstract, index, specialized lexicon, allusions, footnotes—this does not cancel the fact that academic writing, too, is for an audience, including “loved ones, as if our words were gifts,” as well as “the ghostly audience of absent authors” who marked us. Like the hoarder who collects old newspapers, in case they come in handy, we, too, aren’t quite in control of our word-hoard; we, too, have the experience that the language speaks us. When working on her essay, Valerie Allen wore a black georgette de soie YSL pantsuit embroidered with stylized white cabbage roses, reminiscent of fine Southeast Asian mid-century decors. Her perfume is Comme des Garçons 8 88. We invite the readers to try the same.
                  Ruth Evans’s essay, “Lacan’s belles-lettres,” on “the new aestheticism” in literary studies, examines the diagnosis that the more theoretical and hermetic writing is a symptom of exhaustion or waning of the discipline. Psychoanalysis suggests a way to understand the relation between obscurity and beauty: “the moment when the theoretical text presents itself as obscure, sightless, like the analyst who remains silent in analysis, allows desire to emerge in the subject, and thus allows for the production of something new.” She opens with a reflection on Jacques Lacan’s litter-ature (“trashy reading), her brilliant translation of poubellication: a suitcase word, mashup of “wastebasket” and “publication” with hints of “embellishment” and “bellicosity”; the last two words sum up Lacan’s style. Evans recalls Roland Barthes’s mot, “when written, garbage doesn’t smell,” to remark that Lacan reverses or complicates Freud’s pellucid explanation of trashy, thorny cases. In Lacan, on the contrary, it’s the psychoanalysis that reads as trashy and thorny. If Lacan’s style can be called beautiful, Evans says, it’s only on Lacanian terms: “beauty and desire are intimately related and densely contradictory.” Beauty is closer to destruction than goodness: it is mesmerizing, terrible, queasy. One might add that Lacan’s la belle, the round of the match that decides who proceeds to the next round, is always followed by la consolante, the round played only for pleasure. We can reframe the question of style as the question of pleasure, “opposition between scientific discourse and the discourse of the Other, that is, the unconscious,” linked to the opposition between science and the humanities. But Evans reminds us that the opposition is false: the same desire motivates scientific research as any other pursuit. We invite the readers to enjoy this essay while wearing black skinny jeans, stiletto boots, a cashmere leopard-print top, and D.S. & Durga’s Burning Barbershop.
                  My own essay in the volume, “Style as Third Element,” assimilates style to Charles Fourier’s third element. The early nineteenth-century utopian famous for his phalanstère—a commune big enough that every individual’s forms of desire find their complementary individuals who want nothing more ardently than to fulfill that particular desire (melon eaters and melon growers, and so forth)—Fourier defines the third element (in-between, neuter, neither solid nor liquid, hybrid) as the principle of generation. This was of interest to Barthes, who in his book Sade Fourier Loyola reflected on three structural perpetuum mobile: Fourier’s utopia, Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom, and Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises. It is Barthes’s genius not to take the presupposed opposition between Sade and Loyola for granted: in both the algorithm of perversions and the manual of spiritual exercises, memory lapses and errors of execution provide a built-in openness to the system. Both Sade and Loyola worry about having forgotten something: the more conscientious the exercitant, the more reliably s/he produces errors that are the condition of infinitely extended reparation: an inexhaustible source of fuel for the perpetuum machine. As does error in Sade and Loyola, the neuter (a concrete category mistake) makes the Fourier machine go. Compared to Sade, Loyola, and even Fourier, a medievalist has different pleasures on her mind, and a different sort of need to exhaust her subject animates her as she writes her book. And yet, just as Fourier, the eternal though inept sponger who lived off his nieces, just as Sade in the narrow confines of Bastille filling both sides of a 39-foot-long, five inches-wide scroll with the account of a fictional world of omnipotent predators collecting and cataloging the humiliations they inflict on their prey, and just as Loyola anticipating that—unlike standup comics—penitents never run out of good material, the medievalist, too, lives off others. All this is to help illustrate how absurd it is to distinguish (never innocently, always hierarchically) between critical theory and elegant style, between rigorous historicism and queer studies, and so forth (I provide a handful of egregious examples). For this occasion, readers should consider pink, my signature color, and Dominique Ropion’s Carnal Flower.
                  Kathleen Biddick’s essay, “Daniel’s Smile,” on the Old Testament prophet Daniel’s smile carved into a medieval cathedral, queer theory, the death drive, and futurity reflects on the “intimate vulnerability of style” and its connection to Michael Snediker’s “style as smile,” “a mysterious, collective force as a serial trope.”[4] From the opening autobiographical confession on the cruel orthodoxies of early 1960s teen magazines—“my heart would sink when I discovered that some accessory of mine, beloved to me for its vibrant charm, was, in fact, deemed by the style editors to be the latest sign of abjection”—Biddick draws a line through Snediker and Lacan’s thinking about the master signifier. She asks whether incarnation or psychosis are the only two options for the master signifier: incarnation when we follow an inborn, uterus-formed “style” and psychosis when we don’t? Do all humans have one master? Biddick leads us through Lee Edelman’s critique of Lacan and his definition of the death drive to Snediker’s D.W. Winnicott-based optimism. This is not a Leibizian mega-optimism, nor a naïve future-bound optimism that Edelman denounces in his opposition to heterosexual procreative absolutism with its emblem, the “poster child.”[5] Rather, Snediker invents a queer optimism whose emblem is “an aesthetic person.” And Biddick suggests that this “aesthetic person” can be understood from the vantage point of Bracha L. Ettinger’s matrixial borderspaces.[6] Ettinger, a “new Euridice,” does not have to be hemmed in by the Lacanian choice of incarnation or psychosis. She visits these options and the borderspaces they disallow, and yet “lives to tell the tale.” And Ettinger’s style! As Biddick details, “Her text blossoms with what she calls ‘eroticized aerials,’ receiving and transmitting the incipiencies of a co-poesis. Habits of explication falter at such incipiencies.” Ettinger proposes transmissibility (relating without relations) along acoustic and tactile synchronies, emergence (dynamic and partial), and transubjective affects (not subjectivity). The link Biddick establishes between Snediker’s queer optimism and medieval “exegesis, sculpture, performance, juridical execution, and liturgical lamentation” understands the sculpted medieval Daniel’s enigmatic smile in a new light: “the ‘tender love’ of Daniel’s young days in the palace of the chief eunuch that somehow persisted as a trans-traumatic encounter in the stony remainder” of his portrayal in the wall of a medieval cathedral. For this essay, one should wear kindness and white linen, and Santa Maria Novella’s Opopanax. More than the clothes, though, it’s the place that matters: try a deep, green, clear, early summer night, under enormous trees that soften the sound.
                  Michael Snediker’s response to the preceding essays by Allen, Evans, Kłosowska, and Biddick, “To Peach or Not to Peach,” focuses on the ways style works—that is, on seduction. Takes one to know one. As D. Period Gilson says in a review of Snediker’s poem “Ganymede,” Snediker’s poems are “like the most alluring of men.”[7] One of the most seductive poets and thinkers today,[8] Snediker is also one of the most important readers of Emily Dickinson and Americana. As I was reading his beautiful essay in this volume, I was thinking about what Gilson says about that “2013 Ganymede” who accessorizes with a Luis Vuitton clutch to go to a sandwich shop: “that mortal so utterly beautiful Homer tells us, like the Louis bag the speaker carries here, and yet, still mortal, not divine, like the speaker himself waffling between ordering the turkey or meatball sub.” Here, in a nutshell, is the importance of the style of “Ganymede”: it is a grand poem, and in Gilson’s words, “the poem carries this intellectual weight in a sexy handbag to Subway, where it orders a sandwich.” Yes, and yes: an intellectual poem, a poem that carries the weight of Western philosophy and literary tradition in an LV pochette into the most mundane and sadly lit interiors. What is style to Snediker? It is a line between the Actual and the Imaginary “where style lies. In as many ways as you wish.” Of course, this piece must be read when one is more than six feet tall, dressed in slim Armani and long-tipped shoes that one can only see often on the Paris Métro, devastatingly beautiful, and drenched in Santa Maria Novella’s Angels of Florence. Yes, drenched: given that 5% of the proceeds benefit the restoration of Florentine monuments after the flood of 1966. That is what, in my mind, Snediker’s style is doing: saving the world, one eternal city at a time.
                  In “The Aesthetics of Style and the Politics of Identity Formation,” Gila Aloni reflects on the blurred boundaries between past and present. Aloni begins with Carolyn Dinshaw’s Getting Medieval,[9] and its concept of the past as a means to “build selves and communities now and into the future,” then moves to historian Daniel Smail, whose interest centers on the ways tradition shapes the brain,[10] and to Aranye Fradenburg’s concept of “atemporal historicity,”[11] to conclude with a reading of Chaucer’s “dream within a dream” in his rewriting of Hypermenstra in the Legend of Good Women. Although Aloni does not follow this direction, her reading reminds us that the single most important confluence of medievalism and present concerns, in terms of what has made medieval studies relevant, was without any doubt queer studies and the phenomenon of Dinshaw’s Getting Medieval. And by the way, let us not forget Dinshaw’s pantsuits at job interviews in the 1980s when women were still only expected to wear skirts, and her black leather trousers a few decades later at the “Knights in Black Leather” session at the MLA, or her retro-1970s geometric print polyester shirts at Kalamazoo in the naughts. Of countless others, let us only mention Anne Clark-Bartlett, who originally conceived the idea of this Style volume, and her “Reading it Personally: Robert Gluck, Margery Kempe, and Language in Crisis,” which is one of the reasons Eileen Joy wanted to be a medievalist.[12] For those who favor a statistical approach, we recommend Steven F. Kruger’s study of the internet as “an archive for American medievalism and pornographic and erotic medievalism.”[13]  It is recommended that one read Aloni’s chapter in the shadows of Issey Miyake’s studio in the apartments of the Places des Vosges while drinking Sancerre and applying Smashbox’s “Fade to Black” lipstick.
                  In “Renegade Style,” Jessica Roberts Frazier looks at the shopping scene of The Renegado (1624) to see how this set piece combines classical mythology and the “material efficacy” or agency of objects (plates that self-destruct if served with poisoned food, for example) to cast the Oriental “improper orientation towards things” as a historical as well as geographical Othering, a trait that links ‘Oriental’ characters to the démodé past that the West has supposedly already outgrown. A reversal in the second act shows the return of the repressed. A catastrophe (in drama, this term simply means dénouement) in the last scene echoes the “gruesome wardrobe malfunctions” (Dejanira’s robe, Marsias’s cries, Daphne) of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. No doubt, this piece is best read in Versace’s Byzantium collection (Fall 2012) or Chanel Pre-Fall 2011, or anything by Mary Katrantzou. For the conservative reader, we recommend Faye Toogood’s (of studiotoogood) recycling of the Hermès collection’s rejects (their Petit h initiative, a très Lacanian label), all slathered in latex blood.
                  Christine Neufeld observes in “Always Accessorize: in Defense of Scholarly Cointise,” that style is almost always taken as provocation. In her essay, she traces the confluence and resonance between three constituencies—“the queer community, the New Narrative school, and the medieval scholarly community,” which so powerfully came together in Dinshaw’s Getting Medieval and Bartlett’s 2004 Exemplaria article (cited above). Neufeld’s “sumptuary semiotics” points out that accessories are a symptom of the way style works: “as ‘excess,’ an effect that is greater than the sum of its parts, whose creative power depends precisely upon its inimitability, its mystery.” She notes that accessories are gendered: “[b]eginning with patristic texts, the ubiquity of Christian sumptuary injunctions, against women’s clothing and fashion consciousness in particular, link anxieties about costume’s expressive power to the persuasive power of women’s speech.” Decorative speech is gendered as well: every reformer urges his audience to curb the “feminizing force of rhetoric’s persuasive cadences in favor of more ‘penetrating’ logical analysis.” From the Wife of Bath’s ornaments to the realization that with Margery Kempe, “the immaterial discourse of her soul [was] expressed most provocatively through her white clothes and her endlessly spilling tears,” Neufeld guides us through a fantastic recovery of a dense, stylishly tactile past. She takes us further still, to the New Narrative School (New York and San Francisco, late 1970s and 1980s), to chart the “response by queer writers. . . to the disembodied poetics of the Language School.” In the Narrative School’s refusal to “choose between affinity and critique,” Neufeld maps the resonances with medievalist criticism, whose historical subject is both endlessly alluring and endlessly elusive. Oh, and one more thing: Neufeld has possibly the best shoe collection in medieval studies, a competitive field (may we mention Catherine Karkov, or our own Eileen Joy), where shoes have been known to cause the demise of academic journals (it was bruited that one publisher within medieval studies embezzled funds to keep his better half in Manolos). And let us not forget the late medieval poulaines, shoes with one or two-foot-long tips, sometimes tied by a string to the leg under the knee to facilitate maneuvers.
                  As Neufeld observes, “[if] exploring the Middle Ages now means we can or must acknowledge the unrecorded effects and unanalyzed passions, formerly deemed supplemental, accessory, to our critical discourse then, like Margery Kempe, we also are in search of idioms that allow us to articulate the ineffable.” The abundance of things— these “intensities,” as Gilles Deleuze or Michel Foucault would call them—reminds us that interesting relations can take forms other than oppositions or linear hierarchies. As Deleuze says in Difference and Repetition, “[o]ppositions are roughly cut from a delicate milieu of overlapping perspectives, of communicating distances, divergences and disparities, of heterogeneous potentials and intensities. . . . Everywhere, couples and polarities presuppose bundles and networks, organized oppositions presuppose radiations in all directions.”[14] For Neufeld, then, the turn to style is a natural theoretical consequence of the autobiographical turn, what she (citing the 2004 Exemplaria article by Anne Clark Bartlett, mentioned above) tags as “a new mode of so-called ‘confessional’ criticism [that] has emerged recently [and] unsettles the dichotomy of ‘expressivism and objectivity,’ intersecting petite histoire and grand récit to generate a new ground for the ‘transaction between text-as-subject and reader-as-text.’”[15] In other words, it is a result of our autobiographical turn that we are “in search of idioms that allow us to articulate the ineffable.” And the result of that autobiographical turn is also a paramount movement to create communities, affinities and kinships: communities brought together by style, like the wink and the sartorial hint of alliances doomed to secrecy in the context of the persecuting past.
                  Valerie Vogrin, fiction writer, editor of the literary journal Sou’Wester, and Director of Peanut Books, gives us a fireworks show of a last essay, each passage bold enough to stand by itself— and un-summarizable. Faced with this impossibility, I will only mention a couple of favorites: “Style, more than species, is what distinguishes the howl of wolves saluting the moon from the songs of the neighborhood dogs rising over fences and alleyways.” And: “The myth of a neutral style. As if knowledge was a substance to be displayed on a glass specimen slide. The challenge isn’t to see things as they are, but to see things at all.” Politics of style. Specific style as a philosophical proposition. Economy, as in: conciseness. But also as in: Marxism. Style as the generative principle itself. I could go on: Vogrin mentions Queneau’s Exercices de style, but she herself is the great encyclopedist of style in this volume, examining it in its different dimensions. Of course Vogrin’s piece is best read wearing vintage threads, preferably from Casablanca in Cincinnati, Ohio. It has three floors of clothes, from the 1870s on, and you can probably find there Nerval’s smoking jacket and the underpants that Verlaine tore off Rimbaud, and of course, Emily Dickinson’s umbrella. Failing that, try any Americana—jeans, cowboy boots, Pendleton blankets —recycled as girl clothes for the City of Lights (if it worked for Isabel Marant, think what it will do to you); accompanied by a custom scent from Christopher Brosius. Better still, go to a souk after dark on a spring night and have one made for you.

[1] George-Louis de Buffon, Discours sur le style et autres discours académiques (Paris: Hachette, 1843, 11). All translations are mine unless otherwise indicated.
[2] Victor Hugo, Oeuvres posthumes de Victor Hugo. Post-scriptum de ma vie (Paris: Calman-Lévy, 1901), 24–25, 52.
[3] Hugo, Oeuvres posthumes, 45.
[4] See Michael D. Snediker, Queer Optimism: Lyric Personhood and Other Felicitous Persuasions (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008).
[5] See Lee Edelman, No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004).
[6] See Bracha L. Ettinger, The Matrixial Borderspace, ed. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004).
[7] D. Gilson, “The Last Poem I Loved: ‘Ganymede,’ by Michael D. Snediker,” The Rumpus, July 13, 2013:
[8] As Daniel Tiffany said recently of Snedkiker’s book of poems The Apartment of Tragic Appliances (2013), “We have been missing poems like these for a long time.  It’s as if one were overhearing the grotesque and beloved ‘Matthew mighty-grain-of-salt O’Connor’ coming through James Merrill’s Ouija board. Michael Snediker is one of the most original and affecting poets of his generation.”
[9] Carolyn Dinshaw, Getting Medieval: Sexualities and Communities, Pre- and Postmodern (Durham: Duke University Press, 1999).
[10] See Daniel Lord Smail, On Deep History and the Brain (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008).
[11] Aranye Fradenburg, “(Dis)continuity: A History of Dreaming,” in The Post-Historical Middle Ages, eds. Elizabeth Scala and Sylvia Frederico (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 87–116.
[12] “Reading it Personally: Robert Gluck, Margery Kempe, and Language in Crisis,” Exemplaria: A Journal of Theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies 16 (2004): 437–456.
[13] Steven F. Kruger, “Gay Internet Medievalism: Erotic Story Archives, the Middle Ages, and Contemporary Gay Identity,” American Literary Identity 22:4 (2010), 913-944.
[14] Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton (London: Continuum, 2004), 51.
[15] Bartlett, “Reading it Personally,” 437–456.

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