Leo Bersani, Is the Rectum a Grave, University of Chicago Press, 2009
Beginning with one of the foundations of queer theory—his famous meditation on how sex leads to a shattering of the self, Is the Rectum a Grave?—this volume charts the inspired connections Bersani has made between sexuality, psychoanalysis, and aesthetics. Over the course of these essays, Bersani grapples with thinkers ranging from Plato to Descartes to Georg Simmel. Foucault and Freud recur as key figures, and although Foucault rejected psychoanalysis, Bersani contends that by considering his ideas alongside Freud’s, one gains a clearer understanding of human identity and how we relate to one another. For Bersani, art represents a crucial guide for conceiving new ways of connecting to the world, and so, in many of these essays, he stresses the importance of aesthetics, analyzing works by Genet, Caravaggio, Proust, Almodóvar, and Godard.