Saturday, 25 April 2009

Goodbye, Ms Sedgwick

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Critical Theorist. Born 2 May 1950; Died 12 April 2009

Thirteen days ago, one of the precursors of the study of what has become known as "Queer Theory" lost a long battle with breast cancer. It is unlikely most of the readers of this blog will recognise the name, yet any academic studying theories relating to gender and sexuality will not only recognise it, but is likely to have studied her works thoroughly. One can include her in the generation of post-68 scholars who encouraged different ways of approaching a text, and might arguably say she was part of the generation which allowed for a more positive and inclusive attitude towards the LGBT community.

Her work, Epistemology of the Closet, is regarded as a masterpiece in the field, while I myself found her earlier text, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire, a very useful source of critical approach when writing an essay on Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, as part of my studies last year.

It is perhaps not particularly shockng, but shameful, that I couldn't find any trace of a report of her death in either of my usual sources - the BBC News and The Guardian websites, and the closest the latter had to offer as an obituary was Silvia Posocco's short piece in memoriam to the critic. I actually found out about Sedgwick's death via my good friend kaos|theory, and an excellent tribute written by fellow blogger Don Diego (who is an excellent blogger anyway). However, The New Yorker website does have a report here, while a pretty decent obituary can be found here.

Ms Sedgwick, you will be greatly missed...


  1. I have to confess that the news of her death was my first encounter with Ms Sedgwick, whose work I subsequently found to be fascinating.

    Forgot the BBC, their news service is waste, as the kids say. I first encountered Ms. Sedgwick via the excellent news blog - if you don't already check in there, do so, it's essential reading for Us (albeit heavily US-orientated). And The Independent, of course (their site is better than that of The Guardian).

  2. Well, as long as more people are reading her work, then the sad news of her death can be converted into something good.

    I have to admit, the BBC is becoming a little bit rubbish. Though I haven't checked thier website, I stopped reading The Independent Newspaper, since it's stopped reporting news in favour of turning itself into a statistician's journal...