Come as You are: Sexuality and Narrative

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Columbia University Press, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 211 pages

Roof's ambitious, wide-ranging book links narrative theory, theories of sexuality, and gay and lesbian theory to explore the place of homosexuality, and specifically the lesbian, in the tradition of western narrative. According to Freud, perversions are the necessary obstacles in a heroic plot of normal heterosexual development; and homosexuality is the nineteenth century's classic case of perversion. Roof builds on Freud to illustrate that a structural understanding of narrative enforces a heterosexual paradigm, a sense of meaning that provides psychological stability for the reader. Looking at film, television, and lesbian novels, Roof explores how ideas of narrative and sexuality inform, determine, and reproduce one another. She identifies the paradigmatic lesbian story, its unvarying repetition, and how it might be recast. Understanding identification as a narrative practice, and narrative as typically heterosexual and reproductive, Roof shows how sexuality and narrative must be disentangled to alter oppressive social practices. Come As You Are marks a significant contribution to lesbian and gay studies, psychoanalytic theory, and feminism.


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About the author (1996)

JUDITH ROOF is associate professor of English at Indiana University, Bloomington.

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