Library Catalog will be unavailable on Saturday, June 19 between 9 PM and 4 AM for scheduled maintenance.


by Koestenbaum, Wayne.

Format: Print Book 2011
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 2 copies
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
Penn Hills Library Non-Fiction 152.44 KOE
Location  Penn Hills Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  152.44 KOE
Unavailable (1)
Location Collection Status
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction IN TRANSIT
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction

Wayne Koestenbaum considers the meaning of humiliation in this eloquent work of cultural critique and personal reflection.

The lives of people both famous and obscure are filled with scarlet-letter moments when their dirty laundry sees daylight. In these moments we not only witness the reversibility of "success," of prominence, but also come to visceral terms with our own vulnerable selves. We can't stop watching the scene of shame, identifying with it and absorbing its nearness, and relishing our imagined immunity from its stain, even as we acknowledge the universal, embarrassing predicament of living in our ownbodies. With an unusual, disarming blend of autobiography and cultural commentary, noted poet and critic Wayne Koestenbaum takes us through a spectrum of mortifying circumstances--in history, literature, art, current events, music, film, and his own life. His generous disclosures and brilliant observations go beyond prurience to create a poetics of abasement. Inventive, poignant, erudite, and playful, Humiliation plunges into one of the most disquieting of human experiences, with reflections at once emboldening and humane.

Fugue #1. Strip search
Fugue #2. The Jim Crow gaze
Fugue #3. The stink of the liverwurst
Fugue #4. I want to be your bitch
Fugue #5. The blob
Fugue #6. Five o'clock shadow
Fugue #7. Catheter (The Queen of Troy is queen no longer)
Fugue #8. Disgusting allegations
Fugue #9. Fine Jew linen
Fugue #10. Shock treatment aesthetics
Fugue #11. Eavesdropping on elimination.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Poet, scholar, and distinguished professor at the CUNY graduate center, Koestenbaum in his eleventh book presents a series o. fugue. that constitute an aphoristic collage of humiliations, ordinary and extreme. He develops humiliation as something that defines us as individuals. We suffer at the hands of others, suffer the embarrassment of our own clumsiness, of bodily fallibility and failure, and thus become human. Humiliation may be execrable and unendurable, but it is also genuine. And in a world that seems increasingly filled with fakeness, . . . humiliation at least rings true. Koestenbaum extends the definition of humiliation to include what is understood more often as schadenfreude, the pleasure we take in others' misfortune, and he indulges his own prurience. Curiously, he compares petty humiliations and outrages that shock the conscience, which blurs the distinction between the observation of and the experience of suffering. At times pornographic, the book makes readers complicit. Reading it dirties us, and this is partly the point, fo. to the humiliated belong the spoils. --Autrey, Michae. Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "The genre-busting poet and critic Koestenbaum (The Queen's Throat) riffs on humiliation, tracing its relationship with art, desire, the body, and in the construction of celebrities for public consumption. In fragments that recall Roland Barthes's Mourning Diary, the author advances his provocative "paradoxes and juxtapositions" to trace humiliation's contours, the circumstances that make it possible ("Humiliation involves a triangle" of victim, abuser, and witness), and its centrality to certain kinds of pleasure (e.g., Koestenbaum's delight in Liza Minnelli's ability to repeatedly succumb to-and triumph over-humiliation). He refreshes worn tropes such as the humiliation inherent in reality TV and such political scandals as Richard Nixon's resignation ("Watergate wasn't a sexual scandal, but it manifested as physical abhorrence") while also deepening our understanding of racism, lynching, and police brutality in the context of shame. It's a wide-ranging, allusive conversation that wears its erudition lightly-not least because Koestenbaum is at his confiding, self-implicating best ("I am tired, as any human must be, after a life spent avoiding humiliation and yet standing near its flame, enjoying the sparks, the heat, the paradoxical illumination.") (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Series Big ideas/small books
Subjects Humiliation.
Publisher New York :Picador,2011
Edition 1st ed.
Language English
Description vi, 184 pages : illustrations ; 19 cm.
ISBN 9780312429225 (pbk.)
0312429223 (pbk.)
Other Classic View