Strange gourmets by Joseph Litvak Theoretically sophisticated: How often has this term been used to distinguish a work of contemporary criticism and what, exactly, does it mean? In Strange Gourmets, Joseph Litvak does the risky busine.... Published date on: 1997 with total page: 181 pages. Publisher of Strange Gourmets is Duke University Press.
Theoretically sophisticated: How often has this term been used to distinguish a work of contemporary criticism and what, exactly, does it mean? In Strange Gourmets, Joseph Litvak does the risky business of providing the theoretical underpinnings of sophistication itself. Showing how the politics of sophistication pervades contemporary culture both in the mainstream and at the academic margins, Litvak reclaims sophistication from its negative connotations and turns the spotlight on those who, even as they demonise sophistication, surreptitiously and extensively use it. Though commonly thought of as a kind of worldliness at its best and an elitist snobbery at its worst, sophistication, Litvak reminds us, remains tied to its earlier, if forgotten, meaning of "perversion" - a perversion whose avatars are the homosexual and the intellectual. Proceeding with his investigations from a specifically gay academic perspective, Litvak presents thoroughly inventive readings of novels by Austen, Thackeray, and Proust, and of theoretical works by Adorno and Barthes, each text epitomising sophistication in one of its more familiar modes. Among the issues he explores are the ways in which these texts teach sophistication, the embarrassment that sophistication causes the sophisticated, and how the class politics of sophistication are inseparable from its sexual politics. Helping gay, queer, feminist, and other provocative critics to make the most of their bad publicity, Litvak mindfully celebrates sophistication's economy of taste and pleasure. His strategy is to reveal culture as a contest of sophistications in which the winners are often those who best disguise their sophistication. In the process, Strange Gourmets links the history of the novel, aesthetic theory, sociology of culture, and the state of contemporary academic writing, while turning literary criticism, cultural studies, and queer theory into contexts for each other.
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