Picturing the Closet: Male Secrecy and Homosexual Visibility in Britain

Hardcover | April 1, 2015

byDominic Janes

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To what extent did people think they could identify an "obvious" sodomite before the construction of the homosexual as a type of person during the latter part of the nineteenth century? What role did secrecy and denial play in relation to the visual expression of same-sex desire before theterm "the closet" came into widespread use in the latter part of the twentieth century? And what, therefore, did sodomites/homosexuals/gays/queers look like in Britain in 1700, 1800, 1900 and 2000? Could they be spotted mincing down the street? Or were such as these just the flamboyant few whosepresence conveniently drew attention away from the many others who wanted to appear "normal"? These issues are not peripheral to the struggle of the last several decades for individual self-determination and self-expression. It was this set of cultural constructions that the pioneering writer Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (1950-2009) attacked in her book Epistemology of the Closet as representing"the defining structure for gay oppression in this century". This book represents a visual culture counterpart to Sedgwick's study and aims, through the use of a series of interdisciplinary case-studies, to explore both the pre-history of the closet since the eighteenth century and its evolutionthrough to the present day. Chapters explore key moments and issues within the British cultural experience and make pioneering use of a wide range of source materials ranging from art to fashion, literature, philosophy, theology, film and archival records.

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To what extent did people think they could identify an "obvious" sodomite before the construction of the homosexual as a type of person during the latter part of the nineteenth century? What role did secrecy and denial play in relation to the visual expression of same-sex desire before theterm "the closet" came into widespread use in t...

Dominic Janes is Senior Lecturer in History of Art and Culture at Birkbeck, University of London. His other books include Victorian Reformation: The Fight Over Idolatry in the Church of England and God and Gold in Late Antiquity.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 10.12 × 7.2 × 0.98 inPublished:April 1, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190205636

ISBN - 13:9780190205638

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Picturing the ClosetPart One2. Hogarth's Panic3. Burke's Solution4. The Decorative and the DamnedPart Two5. Athletics and Aesthetics6. Strachey in Earnest7. ExpulsionPart Three8. Criminal Practices9. The Unliberated10. After the OutrageBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Picturing the Closet offers a compelling and nuanced history of the border zones in which men's desires for each other were signaled and recognized. Dominic Janes's illuminating and wide-ranging assessment of the structuring roles of desire, dissemblance, and disclosure is an importantcontribution to the study of British visual culture since the eighteenth century." --David J. Getsy, author of Rodin: Sex and the Making of Modern Sculpture