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Sexuality and Contemporary Literature By Joel Gwynne and Angelia Poon ...

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Sexuality and Contemporary Literature


The study of sexuality has had a great deal to offer to scholars in a range of disciplines. Feminist, queer, and postcolonial theorists have questioned the ways in which both sex and sexuality are conceptualized, and this critical interrogation has led to the development of approaches which explore the shifting social, cultural, and political significance of sexuality.

Yet sex and sexuality still excite controversy, most notably in the continuing debates around explicit forms of representation and the more recent ones in response to what has been perceived as a general “sexualization” of culture. These debates can be understood as part of a recurring set of “sex panics” which have become increasingly frantic as the place of sex in relation to emerging forms of intimacy and self-expression shifts and its links to leisure and commerce become more complex. A sense of panic continues to drive debates about sexual matters of all kinds which, as Joel Gwynne and Angelia Poon note in the introduction to this collection, remains “a minefield of political discordance.”

This discordance has been worked out publicly in ways which have often been connected with fiction, in wrangles over what can and cannot be said, whether for the sake of decency, morality, politics, or