The Locations of Politics: Highsmith's The Price of Salt, Haynes' Carol, and American Post-War and Contemporary Cultural Landscapes

Margaret Sönser Breen
This essay examines Patricia Highsmith's lesbian novel The Price of Salt (1952) and its recent film adaptation Carol (2015). Reading the novel and film together and against each other, as well as against other mid-century artistic productions, allows one to recognize both texts' affirmation of queer desires and, with that affirmation, a revision of conventional narrative structures to accommodate that affirmation. Such readings, however, also expose the lapses and ambivalences in both the novel
more » ... s in both the novel and film: discontinuities that at least qualify and perhaps undermine a definition of the works as queer. How queer are these texts after all, and in so far as "queer" gestures toward social inclusion, how queer are these texts in their vision of America? Finally, how can a reading that focuses on the novel's and film's aesthetic and social politics of location facilitate a queer understanding of our own cultural moment?
doi:10.26262/gramma.v25i0.6588 fatcat:65ipcg7zjrhwfetozpuqf7i3hy