The Wallflower Avant-Garde: Modernism, Sexuality, and Queer Ekphrasis

Hardcover | November 16, 2015

byBrian Glavey

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The Wallflower Avant-Garde argues for the importance of a strain of modernist formalism based in ekphrasis, the literary imitation of the visual arts. Often associated with a conservative aesthetic of wholeness, permanence, and autonomy, ekphrastic writing also involves excess, failure, andmimesis, conjuring an aesthetic sense of closure and unity out of impossible imitations. This choreography of imitation and autonomy resonates with many of the foundational insights of queer theory: the way it situates identity as an effect of performativity, artifice, and mimesis. Unlike many queertheorists, however, this book insists that we value both the imitations and the aspirations that guide them, underlining not only the illusoriness of identity but also its allure. This more capacious formalism allows aspects of modernists aesthetic that have seemed regressive or repressive to beread as generative forms of stasis, quiet, reserve, shyness, and so on.

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The Wallflower Avant-Garde argues for the importance of a strain of modernist formalism based in ekphrasis, the literary imitation of the visual arts. Often associated with a conservative aesthetic of wholeness, permanence, and autonomy, ekphrastic writing also involves excess, failure, andmimesis, conjuring an aesthetic sense of closu...

Brian Glavey is Assistant Professor of English at the University of South Carolina.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:232 pages, 9.21 × 6.42 × 0.98 inPublished:November 16, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190202653

ISBN - 13:9780190202651

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Gertrude Stein's Eye Lessons: Portraits and Pedagogy2. The Ekphrastic Vice: Djuna Barnes's Spatial Form3. Squandering Your Potential with Richard Bruce Nugent4. Frank O'Hara Nude with Boots5. The Wallflower Avant-Garde: John Ashbery's Shyness, or, Spacing Out with ArtWorks CitedIndex