'An ambitious work in which Kemp aims to give voice to the voiceless. Fast moving and sharply written'.
- Guardian (Praise for London Triptych)
Through nuanced readings of a handful of modernist texts (Baudelaire, Huysmans, Wilde, Genet, Joyce, and Schreber’s Memoirs), this book explores and interrogates the figure of the penetrated male body, developing the concept of the behind as a site of both fascination and fear. Deconstructing the penetrated male body and the genderisation of its representation, The Penetrated Male offers new understandings of passivity, suggesting that the modern masculine subject is predicated on a penetrability it must always disavow. Arguing that representation is the embodiment of erotic thought, it is an important contribution to queer theory and our understandings of gendered bodies.
Jack Rose begins his apprenticeship as a rent boy with Alfred Taylor in the 1890s, and finds a life of pleasure and excess leads him to new friendships — most notably with the soon-to-be infamous Oscar Wilde. A century later, David tells his own tale of unashamed decadence while waiting to be released from prison, addressing his story to the lover who betrayed him. Where their paths cross, in the politically sensitive 1950s, the artist Colin Read tentatively explores his sexuality as he draws in preparation for his most ambitious painting yet — ‘London Triptych’.
In the tradition of Georges Bataille, Kathy Acker and Jean Genet, these 26 erotic encounters combine to form a highly charged alphabet on the pursuit of pleasure and possibilities of language. A nameless man graphically details his experiences as he cruises from parks to sex clubs in a relentless pursuit of pleasure and sexual gratification.
When 65-year old Grace Wellbeck sees what she believes to be the ghost of her first husband, she fears for her sanity and begins to worry she's having another breakdown. The ghost, Luke, turns out to be very real. As Grace becomes entangled in the disorientating world of art and drugs he and his friends inhabit, she feels increasingly estranged from her second husband and the life they've built together. Grief-soaked, long-buried memories of a violent past come back thick and fast and bring her to a momentous decision.
Do opposites attract? Is desire lack? These assumptions have become so much a part of the ways in which we conceive desire that they are rarely questioned. Yet, what do they say about how homosexuality — a desire for the same — is viewed in our culture? This book takes as its starting point the absence of a suitable theory of homosexual desire, a theory not predicated on such heterological assumptions. It is an investigation into how such assumptions acquired meaning within homosexual discourse, and as such is offered as an interruption within the hegemony of desire. As such, homosexual desire constitutes the biggest challenge to Western binaric thinking in that it dissolves the sacred distinctions between Same/Other, Desire/Identification, subject/object, male/female.