Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Queer/Early/Modern

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Queer/Early/Modern

Article excerpt

Carla Freccero, Queer/Early/Modern (Durham, NC, and London: Duke University Press, 2006). x + 182 pp. ISBN 0-8223-3678-2, £57.00 (hard covers); ISBN 08223-3690-1, £14.95 (p/b). This is a wonderful book, poetic and allusive, that does much more than its tide might imply. Carla Freccero reads each of the key terms (queer, early, and modern) in the broadest and most inclusive way while also rejecting the definitions that others have given them. The numerous introductions are a helpful move in a book that covers such a wide range of material. Freccero argues against strict interpretations of 'queer' (not a thing, a body of work, or a theory), 'early' (she is anti-new-historicist, open to the Middle Ages, and not guilty of early modern barricading), and the 'modern' (seen as intimately connected with what preceded the nineteenth century). Her account of sexuality is anti-progressivist (i.e. we do not learn and develop in this area), true to the political implications of Foucauldian theory but very pro-queer and anti-essentialist. She righdy takes issue with many of David Halperin's determinist pronouncements about doing queer history and her account of theory is very much pro-poststrucruralist (Derridean terminology is often key to her arguments). …

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