Epistemology of the Closet, Updated with a New Preface (Paperback)

By Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

University of California Press, 9780520254060, 280pp.

Publication Date: January 17, 2008

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Since the late 1980s, queer studies and theory have become vital to the intellectual and political life of the United States. This has been due, in no small degree, to the influence of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's critically acclaimed Epistemology of the Closet. Working from classic texts of European and American writers—including Melville, James, Nietzsche, Proust, and Wilde—Sedgwick analyzes a turn-of-the-century historical moment in which sexual orientation became as important a demarcation of personhood as gender had been for centuries. In her preface to this updated edition Sedgwick places the book both personally and historically, looking specifically at the horror of the first wave of the AIDS epidemic and its influence on the text.

About the Author

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (May 2, 1950 – April 12, 2009) was a poet, artist, literary critic and teacher. She is perhaps best known as one of the originators of Queer Theory. Her work and her example continue to have a significant effect in shaping the lives and thought of many people.

Praise For Epistemology of the Closet, Updated with a New Preface

"Close readings of Melville's Billy Budd, Wilde's Dorian Gray, and of Proust, Nietzsche, Henry James, and Thackeray bristle with keen observations relating entrenched fears of same-sex relationships to contemporary gay-bashing."

— Publishers Weekly

"No book I have recently read is as successful as Sedgwick's in making provocative connections between literary acts and social dynamics."

— The Nation

"Pioneering and rewarding. Sedgwick has zeroed in on the taboo area of male sexuality, and the architecture she exposes is stunning."

— Boston Globe

"An important contribution to lesbian and gay studies."

— San Francisco Chronicle

"Brilliant as a work of literary criticism, a cultural study, a political analysis, and as a landmark in the development of lesbian and gay studies."

— Women's Review of Books

“To read (and reread) Sedgwick’s Epistemology of the Closet is a rewarding experience. This text will shatter the framework through which you think about life.”

— Feminist Review