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Evidence of BeingThe Black Gay Cultural Renaissance and the Politics of Violence$
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Darius Bost

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226589794

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226589961.001.0001

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Black Gay Longing in the Work of Essex Hemphill

(p.46) Two Loneliness
Evidence of Being

Darius Bost

University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores diverse constructions of loneliness in the work of Essex Hemphill, especially in his elegies to his contemporary, black gay writer and activist, Joseph Beam. It theorizes loneliness as a traumatic structure of feeling and as an expression of black gay men’s collective political desires in the 1980s and 1990s. By positing loneliness in relation to black gay men's collective and political longings for richer subjective and social lives, the chapter reads Hemphill’s work as an alternative to recent anti-social and pessimistic strains of black and queer theory.

Keywords:   emotion, Essex Hemphill, Joseph Beam, Washington, D.C, HIV/AIDS

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