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Deep Gossip

2005
Author:

Henry Abelove

Deep Gossip

Mapping the intricate relationship between culture, politics, and sexuality over three centuries of literature and history

In this long-awaited collection, Henry Abelove offers strikingly original and boldly interdisciplinary views on the connections between politics, culture, and sexuality in figures as diverse as Henry David Thoreau, Sigmund Freud, and Frank O’Hara. Provocatively conceived, persuasively argued, and elegantly composed, the essays gathered here confirm Abelove’s reputation as one of America’s leading thinkers on the cultural politics of sexuality.

With prose as elegant as it is precise, Deep Gossip shows us why Henry Abelove's work has been so influential. These essays trace the contours of queer studies and queer politics while demonstrating that sex matters, and matters deeply. Those interested in sex, in fields ranging from history and literature to women's studies and American studies, must read this book.

Janet R. Jakobsen, coauthor of Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance

Henry Abelove is an innovative literary critic, astute historian, and pioneer in gay and lesbian studies. In this long-awaited collection, which includes a new introduction, two new essays, and four of the most influential of his previously published articles, Abelove offers strikingly original and boldly interdisciplinary views on the connections between politics, culture, and sexuality in settings that range from eighteenth-century England to contemporary Salt Lake City and in figures as diverse as Henry David Thoreau, Sigmund Freud, and Frank O’Hara.

Abelove addresses the willful misreading of Freud’s views on homosexuality among American psychoanalysts; reconsiders sexual practice during England’s long eighteenth century; assesses the contemporary relevance of Thoreau’s Walden, particularly to queer politics; and traces the emergence of a distinctly queer critique of previous approaches to lesbian and gay history. In the first of the new essays, Abelove uncovers the origins and founding assumptions of American studies as a scholarly discipline; the second evaluates the impact of literature—specifically the same-sex eroticism found in works by such writers as James Baldwin, Elizabeth Bishop, Paul Bowles, and Ned Rorem—on the gay liberation movement of the 1970s.

Provocatively conceived, persuasively argued, and elegantly composed, the essays gathered in Deep Gossip confirm Henry Abelove’s reputation as one of America’s leading thinkers on the cultural politics of sexuality.


Deep Gossip

Henry Abelove is the Willbur Fisk Osborne Professor of English and director of the Center for the Humanities at Wesleyan University. He is author of The Evangelist of Desire: John Wesley and the Methodists (1990) and coeditor (with Michèle Aina Barale and David M. Halperin) of The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader (1993).

Deep Gossip

With prose as elegant as it is precise, Deep Gossip shows us why Henry Abelove's work has been so influential. These essays trace the contours of queer studies and queer politics while demonstrating that sex matters, and matters deeply. Those interested in sex, in fields ranging from history and literature to women's studies and American studies, must read this book.

Janet R. Jakobsen, coauthor of Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance

Among his diverse accomplishments in these essays, Abelove restores to a range of writers—from Freud to F. O. Matthiessen, from Thoreau to Baldwin, Bishop, and O'Hara—their place at the queer center of radical democratic thought.

Douglas Crimp, author of Melancholia and Moralism

Abelove is equally adept as a historian and literary critic. The sundry essays of Deep Gossip treat a variety of nodal points in the history of sexuality . . . several of them are already classics.

Richard Rambuss, author of Closet Devotions

This slim collection of essays covers a good deal of ground.

Torso

Just having Deep Gossip in the house will make your IQ go up 40 points.

Mandate

Provocative. Deep Gossip is crafted so well that it is almost certain to become a classic.

Lambda Book Report

Abelove makes sweeping interdisciplinary connections between sexuality, culture, and politics from eighteenth-century England to contemporary Utah.

American Literature

As elsewhere in this collection, his readings are engaging and self-reflectively offered.

South Atlantic Review

This tour-de-force collection—which helped to define the field referenced in the title—broke ground in 1993, and remains relevant today.

Committee on Lesbian and Gay History

Deep Gossip

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Deep Gossip

Freud, Male Homosexuality, and the Americans
Some Speculations on the History of Sexual Intercourse during the Long Eighteenth Century in England
From Thoreau to Queer Politics
The Queering of Lesbian/Gay History
American Studies, Queer Studies
New York City Gay Liberation and the Queer Commuters

Notes

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