Double Talk: The Erotics of Male Literary Collaboration

1st Edition

Wayne Koestenbaum

Routledge
Published November 13, 2018
Reference - 222 Pages
ISBN 9780415790253 - CAT# Y319464
Series: Routledge Library Editions: Literature and Sexuality

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Summary

Sigmund Freud and Josef Breuer on hysteria, J.A. Symonds and Havelock Ellis on sexuality, a novel by Ford Madox Ford and Joseph Conrad, The Waste Land of T.S. Eliot (and Ezra Pound), even the Lyrical Ballads of Wordsworth and Coleridge: men making books together. Wayne Koestenbaum's startling interpretation of literary collaboration focuses on homosexual desire: men write together, he argues, in order either to express or to evade homosexual feelings. Their writing becomes a textual intercourse, the book at once a female body they can share and the child of their partnership. These man-made texts steal a generative power that women's bodies seem to represent.

Seen as the site of a struggle between homosexual and homophobic energies, the texts Koestenbaum explores – works of psychoanalysis, sexology, fiction, and poetry – emerge as more complex, more revealing. They crystallize and refract the anxiety of male sexuality at the end of the last century, and open up a deeper understanding of connections today between the erotic and the literary. Drawing upon the work of feminist critics, Koestenbaum connects male collaboration and the exchange of women within patriarchy: he peers into both medical texts and imaginative literature, disturbing our ready acceptance of the co-authored work. This strong and unsettling book transforms our understanding of the creative process, providing a new sense of what both collaborative and solitary artistry mean.

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