Shame adorning and shaping my body


Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

Shame, Theatricality and Queer Performativity: Henry James’s  The Art of the Novel.

“In a number of places, for example, James more or less explicitly invokes Frankenstein and all the potential uncanniness in order to undo it [shame when reviewing past work], or at least do something further with it, by offering the spectacle of — not his refusal — but his eroticized eagerness to recognize his progeny [inner child or previous self] even in its oddness: ‘The thing done and dismissed has ever, at the best, for the ambitious work man, a trick of looking dead if not buried, so that he almost throbs with ecstasy when, on an anxious review, the flush of life reappears. It is verily on recognizing that flush on a whole side of “The Awkward Age” that I brand it all, but ever so tenderly, as monstrous’. (Art 99). It is as if the ecstasy-inducing power of the young creature’s ‘flush of life,’ which refers to even while evoking the potentially shaming brand of monstrosity, is the reflux of the blush of shame or repudiation the older man in this rewriting doesn’t feel.”  p 41