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Same OldQueer Theory, Literature and the Politics of Sameness$
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Ben Nichols

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526132833

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526132840

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(p.151) 4 Reductive
Same Old

Ben Nichols

Manchester University Press

This chapter argues that fiction in the genre of the 'stud file', or the catalogue of sexual partners, shows how queer culture has been reductive in precisely some of the ways that queer theory has been averse to. Works by John Rechy, for example, such as City of Night (1963), Numbers (1967) and The Sexual Outlaw (1977), amongst others, are repeatedly 'reduced' to descriptions of a gay cruising or casual sex world that is itself described as performing various kinds of 'reduction’. Works in a related vein, such as Jane DeLynn's Don Juan in the Village (1990), are similarly built around a restricted or reduced way of relating within a form of sexual seriality. For queer theory, and many other theoretical projects influenced by post-structuralism, reductionism has been imagined as the problematic expression of a pernicious 'logic of identity’. This chapter suggests that Rechy’s writing in particular encourages us to recognise the reductiveness of queer culture, which queer theory may prefer to disavow.

Keywords:   reductionism, John Rechy, Jane DeLynn, cruising, stud file, serial sex

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