Exquisite Materials: Episodes in the Queer History of Victorian Style

Cover: Exquisite Materials: Episodes in the Queer History of Victorian Style
Abigail Joseph

November 2019 • ISBN 978-1-64453-168-6 • $102.95

November 2019 • ISBN 978-1-64453-169-3 • $46.95

* E-Book Available
Order Online

Exquisite Materials explores the connections between gay subjects, material objects, and the social and aesthetic landscapes in which they circulated. Each of the book’s four chapters takes up as a case study a figure or set of figures whose life and work dramatize different aspects of the unique queer relationship to materiality and style. These diverse episodes converge around the contention that paying attention to the multitudinous objects of the Victorian world-and to the social practices surrounding them-reveals the boundaries and influences of queer forms of identity and aesthetic sensibility that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century and have remained recognizable up to our own moment. In the cases that author Abigail Joseph examines, objects become unexpected sites of queer community and desire.

About the Author

Abigail Joseph is a Senior Language Lecturer at New York University.

Reviews of 'Exquisite Materials: Episodes in the Queer History of Victorian Style'

I strongly believe that readers will benefit from and enjoy reading this subtle, eccentric book. Joseph’s lively style makes this potentially important addition to queer studies, aesthetics, and material culture studies in a delightful read. By gathering familiar figures with relatively unknown ones under the common rubric of exquisite materials, Joseph has clarified popular, even cliched and banal, observations about queer sensibilities, lending them vital and solid cultural analysis.
- Adrienne Munich, Stony Brook University, author of Queen Victoria’s Secrets
Exquisite Materials: Episodes in the Queer History of Victorian Style does an excellent job of situating and queering some of the most exaggeratedly extreme decades in Victorian feminine style and silhouettes. Joseph’s framework provides a welcome and sympathetic lens through which scholars across a range of disciplines can re-view queer affective networks and archives through things, with a focus on dress and ephemera in particular.
- Alison Matthews David, Toronto Metropolitan University, author of Fashion Victims: The Dangers of Dress Past and Present