This research project reads the experimental work of Kathy Acker with queer theory. Acker's oeuvre is considered to be one of the most significant collections of experimental writing in English. Scholarly enquiries into Acker's works consist mostly of interpreting her experiments as postmodernist – due to her collage-techniques – and as feminist – viewing her fragmented texts as expressing a "female voice". What both of these approaches overlook is the way in which sexuality destabilizes identity. My research project aims to fill this gap by studying Acker with queer theory. Acker's work is radically pessimistic and reveals a sexual politics which refuses sexual identity, tracing the incoherence of desire and the subject instead. Acker's literary experimentation works against the authorial self and her interest in non-identity is connected to the formal innovation of her work.
This project is supported by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO).