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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

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Table of Contents

Introduction--Queering the Camp

I. Tasting It
1. Christopher Isherwood, From The World in the Evening
2. Susan Sontag, Notes on "Camp"
3. Mark Booth, Campe-toi!: On the Origins and Definitions of Camp
4. Philip Core, From Camp: The Lie That Tells the Truth

II. Flaunting the Closet
5. Esther Newton, Role Models
6. Richard Dyer, It's Being So Camp as Keeps Us Going
7. Jack Babuscio, The Cinema of Camp, aka Camp and the Gay Sensibility
8. Andrew Britton, For Interpretation--Notes Against Camp
9. Harold Beaver, Homosexual Signs (In Memory of Roland Barthes)
10. Neil Bartlett, Forgery
11. Mark Finch, Sex and Address in Dynasty
12. Sue-Ellen Case, Toward a Butch-Femme Aesthetic

III. Gender, and Other Spectacles
13. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, From Wilde, Nietzsche, and the Sentimental Relations of the Male Body
14. Jonathan Dollimore, Post/modern: On the Gay Sensibility, or the Pervert's Revenge on Authenticity
15. Linda Mizejewski, Camp Among the Swastikas: Isherwood, Sally Bowles, and "Good Heter Stuff"
16. June Reich, Genderfuck: The Law of the Dildo
17. Pamela Robertson, What Makes the Feminist Camp?
18. George Piggford, "Who's That Girl?" Annie Lennox, Woolf's Orlando, and Female Camp Androgyny

IV. Pop Camp, Surplus Value, or, the Camp of Cultural Economy
19. Andrew Ross, Uses of Camp
20. Sasha Torres, The Caped Crusader of Camp: Pop, Camp, and the Batman Television Series
21. Matthew Tinkcom, Warhol's Camp

V. The Queer Issue
22. Judith Butler, From Interiority to Gender Performatives
23. Carole-Anne Tyler, Boys Will Be Girls: Drag and Transvestic Fetishism
24. Pamela Robertson, Mae West's Maids: Race, "Authenticity", and the Discourse of Camp
25. Johannes von Moltke, Camping in the Art Closet: The Politics of Camp and Nation in German Film
26. Caryl Flinn, The Deaths of Camp

Digging the Scene: A Bibliography of Secondary Materials, 1869-1997


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.”
--Publishers Weekly

“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.