Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, a Pioneer of Gay Studies and a Literary Theorist, Dies at 58
By WILLIAM GRIMES
Published: April 15, 2009
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, whose critical writings on the ambiguities of sexual identity in fiction helped create the discipline known as queer studies, died on Sunday in Manhattan. She was 58.
The cause was breast cancer, her husband, Hal Sedgwick, said.
Ms. Sedgwick broke new ground when, drawing on feminist scholarship and the work of the French poststructuralist Michel Foucault, she began teasing out the hidden socio-sexual subplots in writers like Charles Dickens and Henry James. In a 1983 essay on Dickens’s novel “Our Mutual Friend,” she drew attention to the homoerotic element in the obsessive relationship between Eugene Wrayburn and Bradley Headstone, rivals for the love of Lizzie Hexam but emotionally most fully engaged when facing off against each other.
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