Shifting Orientations


Desire: A Memoir
by Jonathan Dollimore
Bloomsbury. 175 pages, $26.


JONATHAN DOLLIMORE is a well-established cultural and literary critic. His 1991 book, Sexual Dissidence, was a foundational text in queer theory, engaging with both Freud and Foucault, among other thinkers.

His new book, Desire, is a meditation in the form of a memoir. Rather than a chronological account of Dollimore’s life, the narrative is fragmentary, held together by a constant need to unravel the meanings of desire and surmount episodes of deep depression. He tells stories of passing encounters, but there are no meaningful characters in Desire other than the author himself. One of the charms of his memoir is to discover how critical he is of the academic world where he has been so successful.Dennis Altman’s latest book (with Jonathan Symons) is titled Queer Wars (Polity).


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