Ladies Almanack showing their Satire and Irony; Sorrow and Sentimentality; Ridiculousness in relation to Sexual Identity; as well as reflections on Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home— or, Notes not on “Camp”

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Many things in the world have not been named. That is the opening line of Susan Sontag’s “Notes on ‘Camp,’” which in 1964, conferred controversial critical legitimacy on what she evasively called a “cult name.”1 The Oxford English Dictionary did not include Camp in the sense Sontag intended until 1972, but when it did, it offered a first usage date of 1909 and was franker in its definition of a characteristic “of or pertaining to homosexuals.”2 Since then, other terms have followed a similar trajectory from obscurity through euphemism to subcultural sensibility followed by critical and popular ubiquity, none propelled further and faster than queer, which swept into critical theory and popular culture from the activist groups that in 1990 called themselves Queer Nation.3 By 1999 Queer as Folk was a hit TV show in Britain. The American spin-off followed in 2000, and by 2003 we had Queer Eye, sometimes subtitled for the Straight Guy, a popularization of a certain “sensibility . . . a variant of sophistication but hardly identical with it,” as Sontag might say.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationQueer Difficulty in Art and Poetry
Subtitle of host publicationRethinking the Sexed Body in Verse and Visual Culture
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781315469805
ISBN (Print)9781472468147
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences

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