Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor
Department of English
Much of Jonathan Goldberg’s work is concerned with early modern literature as viewed through a queer theoretical lens. In Sodometries: Renaissance Texts, Modern Sexualities (1992; resissued 2010), for example, he considers the category of sodomy as entirely relational, and explores it through court culture, the transvestite stage, and New World colonialism. In Desiring Women Writing (1997), the writing activity of early modern women is considered for the ways it involves transgressions of normative prescriptions of gender and sexuality. His most recent book, The Seeds of Things: Theorizing Sexuality and Materiality in Renaissance Representations (2009) includes chapters on Spenser, Milton, Margaret Cavendish and Lucy Hutchinson, as it considers the role of Lucretian atomism. He also has published books with a twentieth-century focus, including Willa Cather and Others (2001), a consideration of Cather’s investment in representing male-male sexuality, which is compared to similar practices of other women, including the photographer Laura Gilpin, the anthropologist and novelist Blair Niles, and the contemporary author Pat Barker. In Tempest in the Caribbean (2004), he takes as his subject the ways Caribbean writers, from Fanon, Lamming, Césaire, and Fernandez Retamar on, use Shakespeare’s Tempest as a prompt to think the new kinds of person who emerges from colonialism, the newness involving racial inhabitations that reject normative gender and sexuality; writers like Sylvia Wynter, Michelle Cliff, and Patricia Powell are crucial for the reconceptualizations studied. As Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s literary executor, he has edited a volume of her late writing, The Weather in Proust, which appeared early in 2012; beside Proust, Sedgwick's book examines the poetry of Cavafy, explores affect theory and queer politics; Sedgwick writes as well about her textile art, her career, and living with a terminal cancer diagnosis. Goldberg's next book is a monograph on Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train to appear in Arsenal Pulp Press's Queer Film Classics series late in 2012.