“Samuel Steward and the Pursuit of the Erotic” edited by Debra A. Moddlemog and Martin Joseph Ponce— Criticism and Commentary

Moddlemog, Debra A. and Martin Joseph Ponce (editors). “Samuel Steward and the Pursuit of the Erotic”, Ohio State University Press, 2017.

Criticism and Commentary

Amos Lassen

“Samuel Steward and the Pursuit of the Erotic” is a collection of essays that offers criticism and commentary that engages about some of the most pressing theoretical problems of our time. These include the increasingly apparent inadequacy of the concept of ‘sexual identity’ itself and is a wonderful look at interdisciplinary collaboration. It examines issues such as erotics of racial difference, pornography, BDSM, and sexual fantasy as the essays refocus attention on erotic practice. It also looks at Samuel Steward, a neglected figure whose life and work have a great deal to offer queer studies scholars. Stewards was one of the most fascinating sexual renegades of the twentieth century and the dealt with social, cultural, pedagogical, and erotic projects. The essays contained here are daring and controversial as we read about Steward as a writer, literature professor, visual artist, tattoo artist, sexual archivist, unofficial sexologist, and vernacular pornographer. In doing so, voice is given to some of the central concerns of twentieth-century U.S. gay culture and politics. Steward was as an associate and/or a lover of well-known luminaries and was a significant cultural figure in his own right, a man who sensed some of the current aims and methods of queer studies. Below is a look at the Table of Contents:




Martin Joseph Ponce and Debra A. Moddelmog

  1. Archives: Indexing, Saving, Hoarding

1     Sam Steward’s Pornography: Archive, Index, Trace

Tim Dean

2     Ungilting the Gold Star Gay

Aren Z. Aizura and Emmett Ramstad

3     On Late-Life Samuel Steward

Scott Herring

  1. Writings: Sexology, Mysteries, Essays

4     Samuel Steward’s Autoethnographic Sexology

Debra A. Moddelmog

5     The Mysteries of Samuel Steward and Gertrude Stein, Private Eyes

Karen Leick

6     “Foibles and Fripperies, Reminiscences and Tributes”: Reading Samuel Steward’s Lost Chicago Essays

Jeremy Mulderig

III. Desires: Masochism, Race, Pornography

7     “Queerest of the Queer: Why Samuel Steward’s Masochism Matters

Jennifer Burns Bright

8     “Revisiting Racial Fetishism: Interracial Desire, Revenge, and Atonement in Samuel Steward’s Stud

Martin Joseph Ponce

9     “The Law of Pornography: John Rechy and Samuel Steward

Steven Ruszczycky

  1. Recollections

10     “Remembering Sam

Michael Williams


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