Without Optimism: Sex, Žižek, and Apocalyptic Queerness

Stephen Felder


There are clear parallels between  Žižek's concept of apocalyptic experience without teleology, and Berlant and Edelman's "sex without optimism." Both readings point to a negativity at the heart of human experience and the need to reliquish all our teleological aspirations. The apocalpytic experience should be taken in its original sense, as a "revelation," but a revelation of the incoherence of the social order and its demands on the (barred) Subject. This non-telelogical experience can be illustrated by contrasting the works of Homer with Virgil's Aeneid. In the Homeric world the incoherence of the social order, represented by the incoherent and conflicting demands of the gods is in sharp contrast to the teleological order displayed in The Aeneid.


Critical Theory, Žižek, Lacan, Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid, Berlant, Edelman

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