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Abstract

In her article, "Erotic Mourning and Post-traumatic Sexual Desire" Gila Ashtor investigates the ways Dave Eggers's A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius 2000 memoir contains an alternative logic of affectivity that locates possibilities for mourning in the ambivalent directionalities of post-traumatic sexual desire. Ashtor links dominant conceptualizations of post-traumatic working-through and regimes of heteronormative sexual reproductivity in order to argue that Eggers's self-exhibitionistic spectacle of failed post-traumatic healing, precisely as a drama of undoing that replaces the cumulative acquisition of psychic cohesion with survival incoherent gestures, produces a version of what this paper will call "radical mourning." To particularize the text's investment in imagining radical mourning, Ashtor's focuses on how, despite Eggers's ambitions to climax himself back into coherent selfhood, sex repeatedly transforms into a theater of suspended intensities and aborted pleasure. Instead of developmental advances toward meaning, Eggers's "aberrant" eroticism that revolves around its own prefigured failure, posits and dismantles the link between sexual redemption and psychic renewal, thereby metamorphosing the ambit of post-traumatic intelligibility into a queer force field of incoherent "liveness" and inchoate healing.

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