Thursday, April 21, 2011

Steven Shaviro on Samuel Delaney's "Times Square Red, Times Square Blue"

I loved this book. Steven Shaviro captures its significance brilliantly in his review. Here's an excerpt:

"I don't think I have ever read any account of sex and sexual encounters (whether truthful or fictional, gay or straight or whatever) that has been so demystified-or perhaps I could better say, so clearheaded and refreshingly down-to-earth. Nothing in Delany's accounts is idealized by utopianism or burnished by nostalgia. But neither does anything ever appear sleazy or depraved (as is so often the case in sensationalistic accounts of sexual 'subcultures' written for outsiders). Delany implicitly rejects our culture's tendency to define sexuality, and especially non-heterosexual and/or non-monogamous sexuality, as being (whether for good or for ill) transgressive. Delany links sexual desire to the multifarious pleasures of the flesh and intellect, rather than seeing it (in the fashion of so many modernist and postmodernist visionaries) as a sort of metaphysical absolute. He is most of all concerned to underline the everydayness of a sex life that included multiple encounters with multiple partners in these venues. The emotional fulfillment and sense of community provided even by the most fleeting of these encounters is (or at least should be) not an extraordinary situation, but a basic experience of everybody's life."

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