Guy Hocquenghem

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Guy Hocquenghem
Born 3 December 1946
Paris, France
Died 28 August 1988(1988-08-28) (aged 42)
Paris, France
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Continental philosophy, queer theory

Guy Hocquenghem (3 December 1946 – 28 August 1988) was a French writer and queer theorist.

Biography[edit]

Guy Hocquenghem was born in the suburbs of Paris and was educated at the Lycée Lakanal in Sceaux and the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. At the age of fifteen he began an affair with his high school philosophy teacher, René Scherer. They remained lifelong friends.[1] His participation in the May 1968 student rebellion in France formed his allegiance to the Communist Party, which later expelled him because of his homosexuality.

Hocquenghem taught philosophy at the University of Vincennes-Saint Denis, Paris and wrote numerous novels and works of theory. He was the staff writer for the French publication Libération. Hocquenghem was the first gay man to be a member of the Front Homosexuel d'Action Révolutionnaire (FHAR), originally formed by lesbian separatists who split from the Mouvement Homophile de France in 1971. With filmmaker Lionel Soukaz (b. 1953), Hocquenghem wrote and produced a documentary film about gay history, Race d'Ep! (1979) the last word of the title being a play on the word pédé, a French slur for gay men.[2]

Though Hocquenghem had a significant impact on leftist thinking in France, his reputation has failed to grow to international prominence. Only the first of his theoretical tracts, Homosexual Desire (1972) and his first novel, L'Amour en relief (1982) have been translated into English. Although Race d'Ep! was shown at Roxie Cinema in San Francisco in April 1980 and released in America as The Homosexual Century, like Hocquenghem, the film is virtually unknown.

Career[edit]

Guy Hocquenghem's Homosexual Desire (1972, English translation 1978) may be the first work of Queer Theory. Drawing on the theories of desiring-production developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in their Capitalism and Schizophrenia project (1972-1980), Hocquenghem critiqued the influential models of the psyche and sexual desire derived from Lacan and Freud. The author also addressed the relation of capitalism to sexualities, the dynamics of desire, and the political effects of gay group-identities. Moreover, he repudiated the prospect of a new gay 'social organisation' of politics, along with the injunction to sacrifice oneself in the name of future generations.[3]

Jeffrey Weeks's 1978 preface to the first English language translation of Homosexual Desire situates the essay in relation to the various, mostly French, theories of subjectivity and desire surrounding and influencing Hocquenghem's thought. It was republished in French in 2000.

L'Après-Mai des faunes (1974) is the second and untranslated queer-theoretical text.

Co-ire, album systématique de l'enfance (Co-anger: systematic album of childhood) (1976) examines childhood sexuality from a Marxist perspective, co-written with professor René Schérer. It is rumored that Schérer and Hocquenghem had an affair in 1959, when the latter was 15.

Fin de section (1976) short story collection

La Dérive homosexuelle (1977) is the third and yet to be translated queer-theoretical text.

La Beauté du métis (1979) analyzed French anti-Arab feeling and homophobia.

L'Amour en relief (1982) is Hocquenghem's first and most famous novel. A blind Tunisian boy explores French society and discovers the ways in which pleasure can form a resistance to totalitarianism. The novel gives context to homosexual desire as a resistance to white supremacy and racism.

La Colère de l'agneau (The Wrath of the Lamb) (1985) is an experiment in millenarian and apocoliptic narrative taking St. John the Evangelist as its subject.

L'Âme atomique (The Atomic Heart) (1986) was written partly as a response to his deteriorating health, and again in collaboration with Schérer, this work espouses a philosophy composed of dandyism, gnosticism, and epicureanism.

Open letter to those who moved from Mao collars to Rotary wheels, Marseilles, Agone (1986) was republished in 2003 with a foreword by Serge Halimi ISBN 2-7489-0005-7

Eve (1987) is a narrative which combines the story of Genesis with the description of the changes in the body from AIDS-related symptoms and written as Hocquenghem's own body deteriorated.

Voyages et aventures extraordinaires du Frère Angelo (1988) explores the mind of an Italian monk accompanying the conquistadors to the New World.

Death[edit]

Hocquenghem died of AIDS on 28 August 1988, aged 41.

Works[edit]

  • Homosexual Desire (1972, English translation 1978)
  • L'Après-Mai des faunes (1974)
  • Co-ire, album systématique de l'enfance (Co-anger: systematic album of childhood, with René Schérer) (1976)
  • Fin de section (1976) short stories
  • La Dérive homosexuelle (1977)
  • La Beauté du métis (1979)
  • Gay Travels: guide and glance homosexual over the large metropolises (1980)
  • L'Amour en relief (1982)
  • La Colère d'agneau (The Wrath of the Lamb) (1985)
  • L'Âme atomique (The Atomic Heart, with René Schérer) (1986)
  • Open letter to those who moved from Mao Collars to Rotary Wheels (1986)
  • Eve (1987)
  • Les voyages et aventures extraordinaires du frère Angelo, Le Livre de Poche (in French), A. Michel, 1988, ISBN 978-2-226-03442-7 
  • The amphitheatre of the dead ones: anticipated memories (1994)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History By Robert Aldrich, Garry Wotherspoon; p.191
  2. ^ Race d'Ep (1979)
  3. ^ Lee Edelman, No Future:Queer Theory and the Death Drive, Duke University Press, 2005, page 31

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]