Sedgwick turns to literary works, most notably those of Thakeray and James, to illustrate the concept of male homosexual panic through the new "character taxonomy" of the bachelor. That the bachelor represented, acted out male homosexual panic Sedgwick sees as evident in, among other indications, the character's "sometimes agonized sexual anathesia that was damaging to both its male subjects and its female non-objects" (p.188). Further on, Sedgwick notes as evidence of male homosexual panic the bachelor figure's "...demonization of women, especially mothers" (p.192). Yet nowhere does Segdwick identify nor address the misogyny that seems to lurk -- not even under -- but at the surface of the bachelor's world view (though she does identify his "feline gratuitousness of aggression" (p.192)). From her own citation of Thackeray's bachelor who neatly dismisses his female love interest as "a jilt who plays with a man's passion," the misogynistic element is clear. More seriously, when comparing the bachelor to Baudelaire's flaneur , Sedgwick fails to point out the misogyny inherant in, say, Baudelaire's conception of the dandy. Furthermore, the dandy, perhaps the supreme and certainly the most obvious example of the nineteenth-century bachelor, is not mentioned. Is Sedgwick sedulously avoiding the question of misogyny that seems quite clearly to be evoked by the bachelor figure she chooses to discuss? If so, she should say so. While finding SedgwickUs identification of male homosexual panic an important tool in the analysis of texts, relevant both to the nineteenth-century and today, I believe she occludes the interesting possibilities of a connection between the male homosexual panic experienced by dominant heterosexual structures and individuals and the expression of this panic through the discourse and thematics of misogyny.
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