Writing and Desire

Queer Ways of Composing

This book is exciting and groundbreaking in its important interventions into writing studies and queer studies. It is significant as a queer text because of its unsanitized queerness and because of its unapologetic queer intervention into writing studies; it’s important as a writing studies text because of how it invites readers to use queer interventions to reconceptualize what writing (broadly conceived) does, can do, and should do, and what has been missing in the field of writing studies.
Ian Barnard, author of Sex Panic Rhetorics, Queer Interventions
Winner, 2023 CCCC Exemplar Award

Writing and Desire is a sustained, multimovement exploration of how writers, particularly queer writers, think and feel through desire as central to their writing practice. In a time of political, social, global, and ecological unrest, how might we understand desire—the desire for things to be different, the desire for a better world—as a crucial dimension of contemporary human experience? What might such a recentering of desire offer us, personally and politically? And how is writing itself, as one of the primary ways through which we express and explore ourselves, central to the expression and exploration of desire? Drawing on recent theoretical work in queer theory and the new materialism, Jonathan Alexander studies a range of queer and trans writers and artists who center desire in their practice and argues that conceptualizing writing as desire allows us to reexperience both writing and our world as saturated with our dreams and wishes for change. In a book both elegant and unsettling, and by turns personal, analytic, and experimental, Alexander challenges us—and himself—to think about desire and writing as the deepest manifestation of our hopes for the future.

280 Pages, 6 x 9 in.

May, 2023

isbn : 9780822947776

about the author

Jonathan Alexander

Jonathan Alexander is Chancellors Professor of English and Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, where he is also founding director of the Center for Excellence in Writing and Communication.

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Jonathan Alexander