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A Dialogue on Love


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About the Author

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (1950-2009) was a leading gender and critical theorist. Instrumental in developing queer theory, her published works include Between Men- English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire;Epistemology of the Closet;Touching Feeling- Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity;and A Dialogue of Love. Sedgwick studied at Cornell University and Yale University, and taught at many institutions including Boston University, Dartmouth College, and Duke University.


As a founder of the academic discipline of "queer studies," Sedgwick's bailiwick is postmodern discourse on sexuality, though she has previously avoided disclosing much about her personal life. Having embarked on therapy for depression while recovering from breast cancer, Sedgwick (Epistemology of the Closet, etc.) finally confronts the connection between her own sexual nature and her life's work, while also facing her feelings about death and family. In a narrative structured around her sessions with a heterosexual male therapist, she spends a good deal of time questioning whether he can appreciate her intellect or ever understand her worldview, particularly her deep infatuations with gay men and her complex sadomasochistic fantasies. The sessions lead her to several realizations: that she has an attraction to the dying and the dead; that she is in love with her mother, who, according to a running family joke, is a latent lesbian; that, although she has been married for 25 years, she does have authentic links to "queer" experience; and that she is worthy of acceptance by othersÄas well as by her therapist. Including excerpts from her therapist's notes on their sessions and snippets of her own poetry, in addition to lots of chatty commentary, Sedgwick's reflections can come across as tediously self-indulgent. Although it strives to reveal depths of intimacy, her memoir reads more like an intellectual exercise than a straightforward account of psychic painÄand often leaves the reader at arm's length with a disquieting feeling of voyeurism that is likely to limit this memoir's appeal to Sedgwick's loyal following. (July) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Clinically depressed after learning that she had breast cancer, Sedgwick entered therapy vowing to change: "If I can fit the pieces of this self back together at all, I don't want them to be the way they were." Here Sedgwick, a noted literary critic and poet, a founder of queer studies, and a professor of English at CUNY, writes an intimate memoir of her personal journey to self-love and inner peace. Poignantly candid during sessions with her unconventional male therapist, she reveals her feelings, memories, and thoughts about universal themes such as death, family ties, abandonment, happiness, self-esteem, and sexuality. Using haibun, a mixture of prose and haiku, as a unique narrative device to invite readers into her inner world, Sedgwick blends conversations from therapy sessions, segments of her therapist's notes, and lines of her evocative verse to create an intricate and intriguing tale of both her life and her enjoyable relationship with her therapist. This work has broad appeal and is recommended for larger public and academic libraries.ÄKimberly L. Clarke, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Minneapolis Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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