This essay’s close interrogation of James Baldwin’s 1956 novel Giovanni’s Room allows us to see one aspect of how sexual shame functions: it shows how shame exposes anxiety not only about the feminizing force of homosexuality, but about how being the object of the gaze is feminizing—and therefore shameful. It also shows that the paradigm of the closet is not the metaphor of privacy and enclosure on one hand and openness and liberation on the other that it is commonly thought to be, but instead is a site of illusory control over whether one is available to be seen and therefore humiliated by being feminized. Further, the essay reveals the paradox of denial, where one must first know the thing that is at the same time being disavowed or denied. The narrative requirements of fictions such as Giovanni’s Room demonstrate this, as it requires that the narrator both know, in order to narrate, and not know something at the same time.
Anglophobia in Fascist Italy traces the roots of Fascist Anglophobia from the Great War and through the subsequent peace treaties and its development during the twenty years of Mussolini’s regime. Initially, Britain was seen by many Italians as a ‘false friend’ who was also the main obstacle to Italy’s foreign policy aspirations, a view embraced by Mussolini and his movement. While at times dormant, this Anglophobic sentiment did not disappear in the years that followed, and was later rekindled during the Ethiopian War. The peculiarly Fascist contribution to the assessment of Britain was ideological. From the mid-1920s, the regime’s intellectuals saw Fascism as the answer to a crisis in the Western world and as irredeemably opposed to Western civilisation of the sort exemplified by Britain. Britain was described as having failed the ‘problem of labour’, and Fascism framed as a salvation ideology, which nations would either embrace or face decay. The perception of Britain as a decaying and feeble nation increased after the Great Depression. The consequence of this was a consistent underrating of British power and resolve to resist Italian ambitions. An analysis of popular reception of the Fascist discourse shows that the tendency to underrate Britain had permeated large sectors of the Italian people, and that public opinion was more hostile to Britain than previously thought. Indeed, in some quarters hatred towards the British lasted until the end of the Second World War, in both occupied and liberated Italy.
superstition, or the effeminacy which a long career of despotism is sure to produce, the present Hindoos are the children of a degenerate age, and the veriest dwarfs, when compared with the heroes and the giants of which their history can boast, and who seemed to be more in keeping with the grandeur and magnificence of their country. 4
. In fact the principal evidence comprised the competing testimonies of the police and a few conveniently myopic bystanders. Neither were Campbell’s intentions judged by the nature of his attire. Effeminacy, which might have been inferred from his dress, was not considered an inevitable sign of homosexual desire.4 In fact, Campbell’s explanation of his clothing as a form of disguise was accepted without murmur by the court. In the absence of a clear description of the defendant’s actions or a recognised interpretation of his general demeanour, evidence of the
the unheimlich aspects of the feminine’ (1995: 201) as, more specifically, the Scottish male’s fear of his own intrinsic self-and-otherness, or ‘effeminacy’? Notably, within the imperial framework of English-Scottish relations, the Scottish male is always already feminised as a disempowered native (br)other. His condition is one of subordinate marginalisation which, whilst sensitising him to the plights of the systemically oppressed (women, for example), makes it all the more important for him to rigorously detach himself from the feminine, both within and outside
’. 24 Since Hrothgar does apparently shed tears, Kristen Mills ‘re-examine[s] the farewell scene in light of other texts where the formula of a man falling on another's neck, kissing him, and weeping occurs’; 25 these parallels do not suggest ‘abnormality or effeminacy when men embrace, kiss, and weep during a reunion’. 26 This farewell is not a definitive moment of closure but leaves many questions open
. For Wilde and other ‘degenerate’/ ‘eﬀeminate’ writers of the ﬁn de siècle see Alan Sinﬁeld, The Wilde Century: Eﬀeminacy, Oscar Wilde and the Queer Movement, London, Cassell, 1994; Joseph Bristow, Eﬀeminate England: Homoerotic Writing after 1885, Buckingham, Open University Press, 1995; Sally Ledger, ‘The New Woman and the Crisis of Victorianism’, in Sally Ledger and Scott McCracken (eds), Cultural Politics of the Fin de Siècle, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1995, pp. 22–44; and Sally Ledger, The New Woman: Fiction and Feminism at the Fin de Siècle
‘neurasthenia’ denoted nervous exhaustion. B. Shephard, A War of Nerves. Soldiers and Psychiatrists, 1914–1994 (London, 2000), pp. 9–10. 86 Francis, The Flyer , p. 107. 87 For a brief overview of contemporary medical opinion see J. Bourke, ‘Effeminacy, Ethnicity and the End of Trauma: The Sufferings of “Shell-Shocked” Men in Great Britain and Ireland, 1914–39’, Journal of Contemporary History , 35:1 (2000), p. 59; J. Meyer, ‘Separating the Men from the Boys. Masculinity and Maturity in Understandings of Shell Shock in Britain’, Twentieth Century British History
of Monmouth I: Bern, Burgerbibliothek, MS 568, ed. Neil Wright (Cambridge, 1985), pp. 128–9. Here Geoffrey explicitly links the Greeks with femininity or effeminacy. Implicitly, chroniclers of the Crusades often make this connection as well, frequently by citing the Greek aversion to hand-to-hand battle. This episode, in which Guy’s lion is killed by a Greek traitor, seems to invert a historical event of the Crusade of 1101. According to Runciman, the Crusaders killed Alexius I’s pet lion during their brief riot in Constantinople (History of the Crusades, vol. 2, p
, furthermore, it can be said that the choice not to depict him in sumptuous attire protects his masculinity, since ‘social emulation of aristocratic splendour created … effeminacy in upstart men’. 57 The appeal of the naked body as a symbol of strength in this context is also indicated by the fact that when using the template of Boorde’s image to describe French habits of dress, Robert Dallington depicts