What We Are Reading Today: The Closet by Danielle Bobker

Fri, 2020-05-22 05:30

Long before it was a hidden storage space or a metaphor for
queer and trans shame, the closet was one of the most charged
settings in English architecture. This private room provided
seclusion for reading, writing, praying, dressing, and collecting
— and for talking in select company. 

In their closets, kings and duchesses shared secrets with
favorites, midwives and apothecaries dispensed remedies, and newly
wealthy men and women expanded their social networks. 

In The Closet, Danielle Bobker presents a literary and cultural
history of these sites of extrafamilial intimacy, revealing how, as
they proliferated both in buildings and in books, closets also
became powerful symbols of the unstable virtual intimacy of the
first mass medium of print.

Focused on the connections between status-conscious — and
often awkward — interpersonal dynamics and an increasingly
inclusive social and media landscape, The Closet examines dozens of
historical and fictional encounters taking place in the various
iterations of this room: Courtly closets, bathing closets, prayer
closets, privies, and the “moving closet†of the coach, among
many others. 

In the process, the book conjures the intimate lives of
well-known figures such as Samuel Pepys and Laurence Sterne, as
well as less familiar ones such as Miss Hobart, a maid of honor at
the Restoration Court, and Lady Anne Acheson, Swift’s

Turning finally to queer theory, The Closet discovers uncanny
echoes of the eighteenth-century language of the closet in
21st-century coming-out narratives.

Featuring more than thirty illustrations, The Closet offers a
richly detailed and compelling account of an 18th-century setting
and symbol of intimacy that continues to resonate today.

Main category: 

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Source: FS – All – Interesting – News
What We Are Reading Today: The Closet by Danielle