Queering the Fragment
January 20, 2022 § 2 Comments
In the Craft Section of our newest issue, Emilio Williams offers his uniquely-constructed essay “Inside the Box: On Queering the Fragment,” using Barthes, Sontag, and writers such as Wilde, Stein, Proust, Kazim Ali, Maggie Nelson, and Carmen Maria Machado to explore the “mysterious craft [and] magical physics” of queer texts.
From Sappho’s fragments to the graffiti of male-staffed brothels in
Pompeii, the earliest queer texts have reached us in snippets. For centuries, the only
possible first-person narratives for gender dissidents were diaries and letters, always
expected to remain in the private sphere, destroyed posthumously, and often “prehumously.” Perhaps historical impediments may have inspired the virtue of fragments to a
more liberated generation of writers. Call it a lyric essay or not. But if we consider
fragmented text, those are intrinsic to the queer experience.