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Posted on: 22nd May, 2015

Cultural & Historical Studies Hub: Visual Culture and 'the spectacle of the closet'

Event Details

Posted on:
22nd May, 2015

In this talk Dominic Janes will present some key results from his recent research project that explored the visual culture of the ‘spectacle of the closet’ outlined in relation to literature – and specifically with reference to Proust’s character, the Baron de Charlus – by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick in her pioneering work Epistemology of the Closet (1990).

This project looked at the ways in which ‘homosexuals’ were depicted and visually presented themselves before and after the trials of Oscar Wilde in 1895. It also explored the visual aspects of the emergence of gay liberation which involved attempting to imagine, depict and interrogate the space of the closet itself. The work also explored the wider potential for the application of Sedgwick’s insights in the field of literature to the histories of British art and culture.

The key output of this project is being published this year by Oxford University Press as ‘Picturing the Closet: Male Secrecy and Homosexual Visibility in Britain’. It was developed during the tenure of a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship.

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