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literature

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Hocquenghem, Guy (1946-1988)  

Leftist Guy Hocquenghem produced a considerable canon of queer theory and experimental fiction, much of it still unknown outside France.

Hocquenghem was born in the suburbs of Paris in 1946 and was educated at the Ecole Normale Supérieure. His participation in the 1968 student rebellion in France formed his allegiance to the Communist Party, which later expelled him because of his homosexuality. Hocquenghem later became one of the first gay men to join the Front Homosexuel d'Action Révolutionnaire, originally formed by Lesbian separatists who split from the Mouvement Homophile de France in 1971.

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Before his death from AIDS in 1988, Hocquenghem produced a considerable canon of theoretical and creative writings; he also wrote and produced a documentary film about gay history, Race d'Ep! Un siècle d'image de l'homosexualité.

His primary importance, however, rests in a trilogy of theoretical tracts he wrote, only one of which is available in an English translation. Le désir homosexuel (1972), L'Après-Mai des faunes (1974), and Le dérive homosexuelle (1977) form a radical critique of Freudian psychological theory and liberal social theory from a Marxist perspective. Forging a theory of the privatized anus, Hocquenghem attempts to use devalued sexualities and devalued body parts to form a link between the construction of the libido in psychoanalysis and the sustenance of class structures in capitalistic culture.

In the wake of the rebellion, which radically altered the academic structure of France, Hocquenghem received an appointment as professor of philosophy at the University of Vincennes-Saint Denis. With another professor, René Schérer, he wrote two important though often overlooked tracts, Co-ire, album systématique de l'enfance (1976), which examines the construction of childhood sexuality from a Marxist perspective, and L'ame atomique, pour une esthétique d'ère nucléaire (1986), which argues for a new epicureanism that would liberate play and frivolity as positions of agency within postmodern politics.

Hocquenghem's career as an experimental fiction writer began in the 1980s, when, partly as a response to his deteriorating health, he adopted gnosticism as a philosophy and faith.

His first collection of stories, Fin de section (1976), led the way to his most famous novel, L'Amour en relief (1982), which tells the story of a blind foreign boy who circulates through French society. The story explores the ways in which pleasure can form a resistance to totalitarianism, and in many ways is a fictional counterpart to L'ame atomique.

La colère de l'agneau (1986) is a fictional retelling of the vision of St. John the Evangelist. Eve (1987) combines the story of Genesis with Hocquenghem's reflections on his own body decaying from AIDS. His last novel, Les Voyages et aventures extraordinaires du frère Angelo (1988), is the tale of an Italian monk's travels in America.

Although Hocquenghem had a major impact on leftist thinking in France, his reputation has not grown to international prominence. Indeed, only the first of his theoretical tracts and his first novel have been translated into English, and though Race d'Ep! has been released in America as The Homosexual Century, it is virtually unknown. Hocquenghem remains, in effect, a major queer theorist awaiting discovery by the world he sought to liberate and guide.

Gregory W. Bredbeck

     

    
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    Bibliography
   

Hocquenghem, Guy. Eve. Paris: Editions Albin Michel, 1987.

_____. Fin de section. Paris: Editions Albin Michel, 1976.

_____. Homosexual Desire. Trans. Danielle Dangoor. London: Allison and Busby, 1978.

_____. La colère de l'agneau. Paris: Editions Albin Michel, 1986.

_____. La dérive homosexuelle. Paris: Editions Universitaires, 1977.

_____. L'Amour en relief. Paris: Editions Albin Michel, 1982.

_____. L'Après-Mai des faunes. Paris: Editions Universitaires, 1974.

_____. Le désir homosexuel. Paris: Editions Universitaires, 1972.

_____. Les Voyages et aventures extraordinaires du frère Angelo. Paris: Editions Albin Michel, 1988.

_____. Love in Relief. Trans. Michael Whistler. New York: Seahorse Press, 1986.

_____, with René Schérer. Co-ire, album systématique de l'enfance. Paris: Editions Universitaires, 1976.

_____, with René Schérer L'ame atomique, pour une esthétique d'ère nucléaire. Paris: Editions Universitaires, 1986.

Marshall, Bill. Guy Hocquenghem. London: Pluto Press, 1996.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Bredbeck, Gregory W.  
    Entry Title: Hocquenghem, Guy  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated March 4, 2002  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/literature/hocquenghem_g.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates  
 

 

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