'Screaming with Joy': Allen Ginsberg and the Politics of Queer Masochistic Performativity
Rupkatha Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities
Allen Ginsberg's Howl presents a complex idea of queer identity politics restructuring American urbanity. In a de Certeauan portrayal of 'queer' sexual encounters, the actors tend to subvert notions of the heteronormative hegemony over sexuality, sexual bodies, and masculinities. The writing back by the marginalised sexual 'Others' employs the agency of representing pain as liberating, subversive, and pleasurable. These ecstatic performances reveal gender and sexuality as 'performative,'
... rformative,' contributing towards a construction of a 'homosexual masculinity' which is subversive of heteronormative politics. However, there can be located a counter-subversion at work in this portrayal of queer masculinity by virtue of its drawing from the very heteronormative constructs that it intends to subvert. Nevertheless, the agency of a Deleuzian 'queer masochism' entailed in a Butlerian queer performativity can be inferred as a potential strategy for refashioning queer literary politics. This paper attempts to interrogate this very discursive queer identity and performative politics in Ginsberg's poetry.