On affect and queer history

by scholastress

Blanchot’s reflections on Orpheus and Eurydice recall the moment when, in a 1983 interview, Foucault speculated that ‘the best moment’ in the life of the homosexual is ‘likely to be when the lover leaves in the taxi.’ … Foucault’s desire for the boy has a queer specificity; he would not easily give up the dreamy and rueful retrospect he inspires… He wants him in the taxi, just as Orpheus wants Eurydice in the night, in the underworld… Anyone, I want to insist, might be seduced by the figure of Eurydice; she is radiant in her withdrawal. But her specific attraction for queer subjects is an effect, I want to argue, of a historical experience of love as bound up with loss.

Heather Love, “Emotional Rescue: The Demands of Queer History,” in Feeling Backwards, page 51.