Is the Rectum a Grave?: and Other Essays by Leo BersaniIs the Rectum a Grave?: and Other Essays by Leo Bersani

Is the Rectum a Grave?: and Other Essays

byLeo Bersani

Paperback | December 15, 2009

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Over the course of a distinguished career, critic Leo Bersani has tackled a range of issues in his writing, and this collection gathers together some of his finest work. Beginning with one of the foundations of queer theory—his famous meditation on how sex leads to a shattering of the self, “Is the Rectum a Grave?”—this volume charts the inspired connections Bersani has made between sexuality, psychoanalysis, and aesthetics.

Over the course of these essays, Bersani grapples with thinkers ranging from Plato to Descartes to Georg Simmel. Foucault and Freud recur as key figures, and although Foucault rejected psychoanalysis, Bersani contends that by considering his ideas alongside Freud’s, one gains a clearer understanding of human identity and how we relate to one another. For Bersani, art represents a crucial guide for conceiving new ways of connecting to the world, and so, in many of these essays, he stresses the importance of aesthetics, analyzing works by Genet, Caravaggio, Proust, Almodóvar, and Godard.

Documenting over two decades in the life of one of the best minds working in the humanities today, Is the Rectum a Grave? and Other Essays is a unique opportunity to explore the fruitful career of a formidable intellect.

Leo Bersani is professor emeritus of French at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Homos and coauthor, with Adam Phillips, of Intimacies, also published by the University of Chicago Press.
Title:Is the Rectum a Grave?: and Other EssaysFormat:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:December 15, 2009Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226043541

ISBN - 13:9780226043548

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Table of Contents



Part 1 | The Sexual Subject

1 Is the Rectum a Grave?

2 Is There a Gay Art?

3 Gay Betrayals

4 Sociability and Cruising

5 Aggression, Gay Shame, and Almodóvar’s Art

Part 2 | Toward an Aesthetic Subject

6 Against Monogamy

7 Sociality and Sexuality

8 Can Sex Make Us Happy?

9 Fr- oucault and the End of Sex

10 Psychoanalysis and the Aesthetic Subject

11 The Will to Know

Part 3 | Two Interviews

12 A Conversation with Leo Bersani with Tim Dean, Hal Foster, and Kaja Silverman

13 Beyond Redemption: An Interview with Leo Bersani with Nicholas Royle