Reading in Crisis: Queer Hermeneutics as Affective History
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This chapter focuses on Samuel R. Delany’s turn to queer experimental literature in his AIDS novels, The Tale of Plagues and Carnivals and The Mad Man, to displace the priority of academic definitions of queer reading. I argue that experimental writing provides Delany a “para-academic” mode to elaborate a queer hermeneutic that does not seek paranoid mastery but, instead, attends to the affective history of the crisis, particularly its singular convergence of uncertainty, anxiety, and erotic pleasure. Delany ultimately offers queer hermeneutics as an affective inheritance, a means for readers to remain attached to the enduring and unfinished histories of AIDS.