The complete guide to camp; an anthology of the best writing on its history and current theory in cultural studies and lesbian and gay studies
This groundbreaking collection addresses the multi-layered issue of camp, whose inexhaustible breadth of reference and theoretical relevance have made it one of the most salient and challenging issues on the contemporary critical stage. Reassessing the role and significance of the finest essays on camp written by leading intellectuals in cultural studies, lesbian and gay studies and queer theory, this critical anthology both "queers" camp as an issue and offers an excellent key to rethinking the history, theory, and practice of camp.
The anthology is divided into five thematic/historical sections: Tasting It; Flaunting the Closet; Gender, and Other Spectacles; Pop Camp, Surplus Counter-Value, or the Camp of Cultural Economy; and The Queer Issue. These groupings help the reader situate the critical debates around the subject. Fabio Cleto's introduction brings new theoretical insights to the subject of camp while tracing its history as an object of intellectual and cultural critique and analysis.
A comprehensive bibliography that traces the earliest use of the word 'camp' to the present completes this unique and exciting volume.
“Is ‘camp’ a kind of irony, an effect of one’s historic vantage point, an art form or an elitist aesthetic? … From landmark early works by Christopher Isherwood and Susan Sontag to influential contemporary pieces by Esther Newton, Andrew Ross and Judith Butler, this anthology encapsulates the philosophical discussion of this slippery postmodern concept.”
“As an object of critical inquiry, camp has proven notoriously difficult to define. Fabio Cleto takes this difficulty as his point of departure in the most recent anthology of a growing body of scholarly literature on the topic…Cleto resists defining camp [but] does not abandon the task of framing, in a coherent but flexible way, camp as a problematic.”
“Fabio Cleto’s collection variously associates ‘camp’ with the 1960s, aestheticism, androgyny, cross-dressing, the cultural figure of the dandy, decadence, drag, exaggeration, kitsch, parody, pastiche, postmodernism, the sentimental, and the transvestite… The essayists in Camp disagree freely and fiercely over definitions. This is to be expected in a queer reader, one whose contributors endeavor to ‘read across’ the meanings of camp.”
--The Gay & Lesbian Review
Fabio Cleto teaches English Literature at the University of Bergamo in Italy. He has published on biography and authorship, on turn-of-the-century literary writing, on cultural materialism and queer theory, and on the theory and history of camp.