The Opposite of Desire: Sex and Pleasure in the Modernist Novel
In The Opposite of Desire, Tonya Krouse argues that explicit depictions of sex and sexuality operate as central sites of modernist aesthetic experimentation. In order to explore the aesthetic repercussions of these scenes in the novels of Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, and James Joyce, Krouse resists the common critical approach of reading such representations through theories of desire, obscenity, or pornography. Instead, she examines these depictions in terms of "the opposite of desire," or pleasure, and this approach allows Krouse to historicize these authors' preoccupations with entering into discourses on sex and sexuality. Examining explicit representations of sex and sexuality in modernist novels, Krouse asserts that these scenes provide a lens through which to examine modernist aesthetic interests as well as the centrality of issues surrounding sex, sexuality and gender in the modernist period. Approaching scenes of sex and sexuality with the aid of Michel Foucault's theories about sexual discourses, The Opposite of Desire thoroughly examines modernist attempts to put pleasure into representation.
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