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Touching Feeling


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A collection of essays examining theories of affect and how they relate to issues of performance and performativity

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Introduction 1
Interlude, Pedagogic 27
1. Shame, Theatricality, and Queer Performativity: Henry James's The Art of the Novel 35
2. Around the Performative: Periperformative Vicinities in Nineteenth-Century Narrative 67
3. Shame in the Cybernetic Fold: Reading Silvan Tomkins (Written with Adam Frank) 93
4. Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading, or, You're So Paranoid, You Probably Think This Essay Is About You 123
5. Pedagogy of Buddhism 153
Works Cited 183
Index 189

About the Author

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick is Distinguished Professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is the author of numerous books including A Dialogue on Love and Epistemology of the Closet. Her books Tendencies; Fat Art, Thin Art, a book of poetry; Novel Gazing: Queer Readings in Fiction; and Shame and Its Sisters: A Silvan Tomkins Reader (coedited with Adam Frank) are published by Duke University Press.


"Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's gift is to electrify intellectual communities by reminding them that 'thought' has a temperature, a texture, and an erotics. With a generosity that is at once self-abnegatingly ascetic, and gorgeously, exhibitionistically bravura, she opens door after door onto undiscovered fields of inquiry. There are too many high points in Touching Feeling for me to list them. Sedgwick's language, richly garlanded, syntactically showstopping, gives, everywhere, its characteristic, always surprising pleasure." Wayne Koestenbaum, author of Andy Warhol "Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick writes with intense precision, and yet her work directs us toward the domain where meaning is music, unquantifiable, enigmatic, nonlinguistic. If the performative speech act, with all its relation to norms and laws, is central to the reception of her work in queer theory, then the performativity of knowledge beyond speech-aesthetic, bodily, affective-is its real topic." Lauren Berlant, author of The Queen of America Goes to Washington City "... Touching Feeling, [is] a collection of essays dating back to 1992 which [Sedgwick] has revised to form an extended theoretical meditation on 'non-dualistic thought' ... The loosely connected essays have such themes as shame, theatricality, performativity, the biology of affect, reparative v. paranoid reading, and death... Sedgwick's courage in speaking openly about her illness and about aspects of her self that most academic women would keep private, including being fat, is very moving."--Elaine Showalter, London Review of Books 6 March 2003

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