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American Gay Men’s Life Writing since Stonewall


Tomasz Basiuk

The diversity of gay men’s life writing since the Stonewall Inn riots is not limited to the coming-out story. Memoirs, personal essays, fictionalized autobiographies, and other forms of life writing witnessing to gay experience adopt many narrative paradigms and are profoundly self-reflexive about how they construct gay male identity. Exposures emphasizes both this critical perspective and the risk-taking, personal as much as artistic, assumed by gay male autobiographers. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s writings on shame, inspired by Silvan Tomkins’s affect theory, are an important point of reference. So is the political thought of Jacques Rancière, whose concept of the distribution of the sensible is called upon to describe the politico-aesthetic work, performed by gay male life writing.

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