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The Pervert’s Guide to Geoff Ryman: Desire, Subjectivity and Identity in Lust and Was
Extrapolation (2008)
  • Wendy Pearson, The University of Western Ontario

[...] not intended, as The Pervert s Guide is, as a kind of exploratory introduction to the ways Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis can be applied to the cinema, Ryman's own explorations of questions of "fantasy, reality, sexuality, subjectivity, desire, materiality and [literary] form" have something both of Zizek's engagement with the complexity and intricacy of these topics and of his drive to clarify and exemplify them-in Ryman's case, through a series of repeated, but clearly differentiated, explorations of how people come to acquire a sense of self, of how they desire, of how they act and react, both with each other and with the material world, and of how they act and are acted upon by both fantasy and history. Questions of sexuality in Ryman's novels-particularly given that the majority of his protagonists are identified, in one way or another, as "queer"1-have largely been investigated to date from the perspective of queer theory and through a focus on resistance to heteronormativity and to the pathologizing discourses it produces around homosexuality.2 However, as Tim Dean and Christopher Lane point out, queer theory, despite its reliance on Foucault, has never been completely divorced from more psychoanalytic approaches to desire.3 Indeed, Foucault himself makes the point that he understands Jacques Lacan, in particular, as undertaking a similar project in relation to the philosophical primacy of the subject: "one had to try to free everything that hides itself behind the apparently simple use of the pronoun T" (qtd. in Davidson 44).\n Taking the underground back home, Michael looks at the people in the tube train and realizes that he loves them all, loves them promiscuously but "beyond lust and romance and making families" (391).

Publication Date
Summer 2008
Citation Information
Wendy Pearson. "The Pervert’s Guide to Geoff Ryman: Desire, Subjectivity and Identity in Lust and Was" Extrapolation Vol. 49 Iss. 2 (2008)
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