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Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick: 1950-2009

April 14, 2009

Prominent American literary critic and theorist Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick passed away on April 12, 2009 following an extended battle with breast cancer.  Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, Sedgwick was a member of the Duke University English Department and stood at the forefront of cultural studies in American literary discourse.  In her later years, much of Sedgwick’s work became more introspective and personal, dealing with her biography, scholarship, and struggles with cancer.

Most of her contribution to the academy is in the realm of gender and queer studies.  Arguably, her best known writing is contained in the book Epistemology of the Closet that contains her essay, “The Beast in the Closet,” which explores closeted anxiety through the work of Henry James, focusing on his novella The Beast in the Jungle.

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