H-Net reviews The Reification of Desire

By Amy E. Wendling
H-Net Reviews

Of the many striking features of Kevin Floyd’s excellent study, The Reification of Desire: Toward a Queer Marxism, certainly the most striking is its second chapter. In it, Floyd reads the truths of Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble (1990) against the backdrop of capitalism’s influences on changing gender norms. I was certain that when the moment came that Butler’s work was historicized in this fashion, it would come at the hands of a philosopher. Instead, it has been skillfully performed by Floyd, whose own discipline is English. This is not to say that Floyd’s work is not deeply philosophical. In fact, The Reification of Desire handles the background figures Immanuel Kant and G. W.  Hegel very well: no easy task, even from inside of the discipline of philosophy. It is to say that Floyd’s merging of the insights of philosophy with the careful analysis of fiction, a method he uses throughout The Reification of Desire, works to illuminate key theoretical points.

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