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Sexual DissidenceAugustine to Wilde, Freud to Foucault$
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Jonathan Dollimore

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198112259

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112259.001.0001

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Desire and Difference

Desire and Difference

(p.328) (p.329) 21 Desire and Difference
Sexual Dissidence

Jonathan Dollimore

Oxford University Press

The instance of homosexuality is not incidental since ‘perverse’ desire figures centrally in Roland Barthes's influential theories of difference and textuality. Like Oscar Wilde, André Gide, and others, Barthes uses perverse desire to animate and inform his aesthetic and linguistic theories, and it is in terms of language and art that such strategies would in part operate. From the vantage point of so-called post-liberation, the political blindnesses of sexual desire, and how disastrous it can be to make sexuality the prime mover of a political vision. What one learns from Wilde, Gide, Barthes, and others is that a conventionally understood politics which ignores sexual desire will quite possibly be as disastrous as one which makes that desire the prime mover in the age of so-called post-liberation. It is not exactly that they bring sexuality to politics; rather, deviant desire brings with it a different kind of political knowledge, and hence inflects both desire and politics differently.

Keywords:   homosexuality, desire, Roland Barthes, difference, Oscar Wilde, André Gide, sexuality, politics, textuality

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