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Guy Hocquenghem

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Guy Hocquenghem (3 December 1946 – 28 August 1988) was a French writer and queer theorist.

Biography Edit

Guy Hocquenghem was born in the suburbs of Paris and was educated at the Ecole Normale Supérieure. His participation in the May 1968 student rebellion in France formed his allegiance to the Communist Party, which later expelled him because of his homosexuality. He taught philosophy at the University of Vincennes-Saint Denis, Paris and was the author of numerous novels and works of theory. He was the staff writer for the French publication Libération. Hocquenghem was the first gay man to be a member of the Front Homosexuel d'Action Révolutionnaire (FHAR), originally formed by lesbian separatists who split from the Mouvement Homophile de France in 1971. With filmmaker Lionel Soukaz (b. 1953), Hocquenghem wrote and produced a documentary film about gay history, Race d'Ep! (1979) the last word of the title being a play on the French word pede meaning gay.[1] Hocquenghem died of an AIDS-related illness in 1988.

Though Hocquenghem had a significant impact on leftist thinking in France, his reputation has failed to grow to international prominence. Only the first of his theoretical tracts, Homosexual Desire (1972) and his first novel, L'Amour en relief (1982) have been translated into English. Although Race d'Ep! was shown at Roxie Cinema in San Francisco in April 1980 and released in America as The Homosexual Century, like Hocquenghem, the film is virtually unknown.

CareerEdit

Guy Hocquenghem's Homosexual Desire (1972, English translation 1978) may be the first work of Queer Theory. Drawing on the theoretical work of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Hocquenghem critiqued the influential models of the psyche and sexual desire derived from Lacan and Freud. The author also addressed the relation of capitalism to sexualities, the dynamics of desire, and the political effects of gay group-identities. Moreover, he repudiated the prospect of a new gay 'social organisation' of politics, along with the injunction to sacrifice oneself in the name of future generations.[2]

Jeffrey Weeks's 1978 preface to the first English language translation of Homosexual Desire is extremely helpful in situating the essay in relation to the various, mostly French, theories of subjectivity and desire surrounding and influencing Hocquenghem's thought. It was republished in French in 2000.

L'Après-Mai des faunes (1974) is the second and untranslated queer-theoretical text.

Co-ire, album systématique de l'enfance (Co-anger: systematic album of childhood) (1976) examines childhood sexuality from a Marxist perspective. It was written with another professor, René Schérer. It is rumored that Schérer and Hocquenghem had an affair in 1959, when the latter was 15: see historical pederastic couples.

La Dérive homosexuelle (1977) is the third and yet to be translated queer-theoretical text.

La Beauté du métis (1979) analyzed French anti-Arab feeling and homophobia.

L'Amour en relief (1982) is Hocquenghem's first and most famous novel. A blind Tunisian boy explores French society and discovers the ways in which pleasure can form a resistance to totalitarianism. The novel gives context to homosexual desire as a resistance to white supremacy and racism.

La Colère de l'agneau (The Wrath of the Lamb) (1985) is an experiment in millenarian and apocoliptic narrative taking St. John the Evangelist as its subject.

L'Âme atomique (The Atomic Heart) (1986) was written partly as a response to his deteriorating health, and again in collaboration with Schére, this work espouses a philosophy composed of dandyism, gnosticism, and epicureanism.

Open letter to those who moved from Mao collars to Rotary wheels, Marseilles, Agone (1986) was republished in 2003 with a foreword by Serge Halimi ISBN 2-7489-0005-7

Eve (1987) is a narrative which narrative carefully combines the story of Genesis with the description of the changes in the body from AIDS related symptoms and written as Hocquenghem's own body deteriorated.

Voyages et adventures extraordinaires du Frère Angelo (1988) explores the mind of an Italian monk accompanying the conquistadors to the New World.

Works Edit

Works on Hocquenghem Edit

Bill Marshall, Guy Hocquenghem: Gay Beyond Identity (Duke University Press, 1996)

References Edit

  1. Race d'Ep (1979)
  2. Lee Edelman, No Future:Queer Theory and the Death Drive, Duke University Press, 2005, page 31

External links Edit


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