Sex and Isolation: And Other Essays

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Overview

Winner of France’s 2004 Prix de Flore for his memoir The Romanian: Story of an Obsession, Bruce Benderson has gained international respect for his controversial opinions and original take on contemporary society. In this collection of essays, Benderson directs his exceptional powers of observation toward some of the most debated, as well as some of the most neglected, issues of our day.
     In Sex and Isolation, readers will encounter eccentric street people, Latin American literary geniuses, a French cabaret owner, a transvestite performer, and many other unusual characters; they’ll visit subcultures rarely described in writing and be treated to Benderson’s iconoclastic opinions about culture in former and contemporary urban society. Whether proposing new theories about the relationship between art, entertainment, and sex, analyzing the rise of the Internet and the disappearance of public space, or considering how religion and sexual identity interact, each essay demonstrates sharp wit, surprising insight and some startling intellectual positions.
     This is the first American volume of Benderson’s collected essays, featuring both new work and some of his best-known writings, including his famous essay “Toward the New Degeneracy.”

 

 

Outstanding University Press Book selection, Foreword Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299223144
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 10/2/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Benderson is the author of seven books, including The Romanian: Story of an Obsession, User, and Pretending to Say No. He has contributed articles to the New York Times Magazine, Village Voice, nest, Paris Vogue, Blackbook, Libération, and other media. An accomplished translator and bilingual author, he has also taught creative writing, urban culture, and French literature at colleges throughout the United States. He divides his time between New York and Paris.

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Read an Excerpt

“In our boastfully casual clothes, we now go about lives programmed for drabness, like stunted Pilgrims in a Protestant community devoid of libidinal expression. Our alibi? That fashion was once a harmful way of distinguishing the rich from the poor. That merchandising is part of the delirious Spectacle designed to keep us enslaved.”—excerpt from "Fear of Fashion"

“When it comes to discussing outsider culture, academics have invented distanced cynical terms like ‘performance’ or ‘transgression.’ Giving voice to the reality of poverty in all its lustiness, energy, and degradation has become taboo, and it is actually considered a light to a poor person’s integrity to tell the reality of his cultural experience.”—excerpt from “Toward the New Degeneracy”

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Table of Contents

Sex and Isolation Surrendering to the Spectacle Fear of Fashion America's New Networkers Tel Quel's Gaudy Harlequin The Spider Woman's Mother Montmartre's Blue Angel A Champion in Times Square   
The Not-So-Secret Life of Consuela Cosmetic Toward the New Degeneracy

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