Tara Thomas responds to Dustin Friedman

Like Friedman I find Wright’s sidestepping of psychoanalysis and Foucauldian historicism in order to “take the Victorians at their word when it c[o]me[s] to sexuality” refreshing as a reading method both “adaptable to pedagogical situations” as well as other fields and histories. I appreciate Friedman’s astute assessment of the way Wright’s privileging of close reading over historical context is an “attempt to show how much we can understand about a text’s sexual ethics just by paying close attention to what it actually says.” I also appreciate Wright’s examination of desire in literature detached from repressive or disciplining readings and his clever analyses of moments where, as Friedman writes, “the language of desire buckles under the force of bad logic.” Although Wright contextualizes his study in relation to the history of logic, I wanted to know more about the influence of sexuality and gender on logic itself. For example, Wright “insist[s] upon a connection between queer people and heterosexual women as the subjects of representations of desire in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries” (10). I wonder then how logic is itself shaped by gender and sexuality in the nineteenth century. For this, psychoanalysis and Foucault might indeed prove necessary.

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