Tame Passions of Wilde: The Styles of Manageable Desire

Princeton University Press
Free sample

What if our strongest urges could be divested of their power to compel yet retain their power to fascinate us? What if our most basic appetites could be translated from the realm of bodily necessity to the sphere of artistic freedom? Jeff Nunokawa traces the variety of social pressures that inspired Oscar Wilde's lifelong effort to concoct forms of desire that thrill without menacing us, as well as the alchemies by which he sought to do so.

Assigning Wilde a place of honor in a heady company of thinkers drawn from the ranks of philosophy, sociology, economics, psychoanalysis, and contemporary queer theory--Kant, Marx, Simmel, Weber, Freud, Hannah Arendt, Albert O. Hirschman, Erving Goffman, Judith Butler, Eve Sedgwick, and, of course, Michel Foucault--this is the first book to recognize Wilde not only as a blatant symptom of a familiar understanding of modern sexuality, but also as a grand theorist of the subject in his own right. The result is a wholly original portrait of the artist as a social critic who, in the midst of his humor, labored to illuminate and amend the book of love.

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About the author

Jeff Nunokawa is Associate Professor of English at Princeton University and the author of The Afterlife of Property: Domestic Security and the Victorian Novel (Princeton).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jan 10, 2009
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Pages
176
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ISBN
9781400825653
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Literary Criticism / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Jeff Nunokawa
"The hunger for a feeling of connection that informs most everything I've written flows from a common break in a common heart, one I share with everyone I’ve ever really known."—Note Book

Every single morning since early 2007, Princeton English professor Jeff Nunokawa has posted a brief essay in the Notes section of his Facebook page. Often just a few sentences but never more than a few paragraphs, these compelling literary and personal meditations have raised the Facebook post to an art form, gained thousands of loyal readers, and been featured in the New Yorker. In Note Book, Nunokawa has selected some 250 of the most powerful and memorable of these essays, many accompanied by the snapshots originally posted alongside them. The result is a new kind of literary work for the age of digital and social media, one that reimagines the essay’s efforts, at least since Montaigne, to understand our common condition by trying to understand ourselves.

Ranging widely, the essays often begin with a quotation from one of Nunokawa’s favorite writers—George Eliot, Henry James, Gerard Manley Hopkins, W. H. Auden, Robert Frost, or James Merrill, to name a few. At other times, Nunokawa is just as likely to be discussing Joni Mitchell or Spanish soccer striker Fernando Torres.

Confessional and moving, enlightening and entertaining, Note Book is ultimately a profound reflection on loss and loneliness—and on the compensations that might be found through writing, literature, and connecting to others through social media.

Jeff Nunokawa
"The hunger for a feeling of connection that informs most everything I've written flows from a common break in a common heart, one I share with everyone I’ve ever really known."—Note Book

Every single morning since early 2007, Princeton English professor Jeff Nunokawa has posted a brief essay in the Notes section of his Facebook page. Often just a few sentences but never more than a few paragraphs, these compelling literary and personal meditations have raised the Facebook post to an art form, gained thousands of loyal readers, and been featured in the New Yorker. In Note Book, Nunokawa has selected some 250 of the most powerful and memorable of these essays, many accompanied by the snapshots originally posted alongside them. The result is a new kind of literary work for the age of digital and social media, one that reimagines the essay’s efforts, at least since Montaigne, to understand our common condition by trying to understand ourselves.

Ranging widely, the essays often begin with a quotation from one of Nunokawa’s favorite writers—George Eliot, Henry James, Gerard Manley Hopkins, W. H. Auden, Robert Frost, or James Merrill, to name a few. At other times, Nunokawa is just as likely to be discussing Joni Mitchell or Spanish soccer striker Fernando Torres.

Confessional and moving, enlightening and entertaining, Note Book is ultimately a profound reflection on loss and loneliness—and on the compensations that might be found through writing, literature, and connecting to others through social media.

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