The World of Perversion: Psychoanalysis and the Impossible Absolute of Desire

The World of Perversion: Psychoanalysis and the Impossible Absolute of Desire

by James Penney

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In The World of Perversion, James Penney argues that antihomophobic criticism has nothing to lose-and indeed everything to gain-by reclaiming the psychoanalytic concept of perversion as psychic structure. Analyzing the antagonism between psychoanalytic approaches to perversion and those inspired by the work of Michel Foucault, Penney explores how different assumptions about sexuality have determined the development of contemporary queer theory, and how the universalizing approach to homosexuality in psychoanalysis actually leads to more useful political strategies for nonheterosexual subjects. Having established this theoretical context, Penney focuses on works by Georges Bataille, Blaise Pascal, Denis Diderot, and Jacques Lacan, tracing the implications of various sexual and moral understandings of the term perversion, and illustrating how a psychoanalytic approach to the question of perversion enables politicized readings that are foreclosed by a Foucauldian methodology.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780791481677
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 09/18/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 447 KB

About the Author

James Penney is Assistant Professor in the Cultural Studies Program at Trent University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     xi
Epistemologies of Perversion     1
Perversity and Perversion     1
Perversion as Power     2
Perversion as Structure     11
Fetishism, Sexual Difference, Homosexuality     21
Worlds of Perversion: A Reader's Guide     28
Confessions of a Medieval Sodomite     35
Meet Gilles de Rais     35
The Spectacle of Perversion     37
The Tragedy of History     42
An Innocent Transference     50
Radically Evil?     54
The Perverse Sacrifice     59
Cleopatra's Nose     69
Pascal's Modernity     69
The Tragic Absolute     75
From Sin to Infinity     80
Ideological State Automatons     87
A Distracted Dialectic     93
Grace, or the Act of Faith     98
This Whole World of Perversion     103
Dialogue and Dialectic     103
The Cynical Other     108
A Revolt against the Negative     113
Wealth and Power     117
Hysterical Pantomime     123
The Beyond of Perversion     130
The Guardian of Criminal Being     139
Lacan contra Hegel     139
Ethical Beauty     143
The Real of Destiny     148
Pleasure Unbound     153
Suffering for Beauty     157
Artfully Screwed     164
Concluding (Un)Queer-Theoretical Postscript     173
Perversion and Its Discontents     173
A Dynamic Perversion     175
The Minoritarian Temptation     184
Hysteria in the Shadow of the State     190
The Paradox of Desublimation     201
The Subject of Sex     210
Notes     221
Index     241

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