Sex, Dissidence, Desire

Desire. It takes a young, working-class man out of the car factory, through the academy, and out of it again. It takes him through nightclubs and seminar rooms, cruising grounds and bathhouses, through intense relationships – both enduring and transient – and into a restless, enduring inquiry into human life as condensed in our greatest literature.

Jonathan Dollimore is one of Britain’s greatest cultural critics. In his early work, he recovered the subversive and revolutionary potential of early modern drama, and went on to co-found the Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence at Sussex; his book Sexual Dissidence recovers the lost histories of perversion from Augustine to Wilde. His work, whether on death and loss, or sex and censorship, consistently provides new directions in thought and punctures over-easy pieties. In Desire, he brings his intelligence to bear on his own life – and has produced a rigorous, wise and daring account of desire’s many and changing forms. He joins James Butler to discuss sex and sexuality, the power of literature, domesticated transgression – and learning to think beyond the academy.

Desire: A Memoir is available now from Rowman & Littlefield.

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