What Passes the Passed

Edmund White

Setting the life-celebrating ephemeral arts, a simple suggestive listing …

[T]he new gay movement was generating a fresh take on gender politics. Simultaneously, the new gay sensibility was concocting extravagant inventions in the ephemeral arts of fashion, lighting, flower arranging, party design, window dressing, disco dancing, drug sequencing and sexual performance.

against a listing of another sort — the canon.

I myself am in favor of desacralizing literature, of dismantling the idea of a few essential books, of retiring the whole concept of a canon. A canon is for people who don’t like to read people who want to know the bare minimum of titles they must consume in order to be considered polished, well rounded, civilized. Any real reader seeks the names of more and more books, not fewer and fewer.

Both moments from a lecture, “The Personal Is Political: Queer Fiction and Criticism”
collected in the volume Queer Ideas: The David R, Kessler Lectures
from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, CUNY

And so for day 2507

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