Enter at Your Own Risk: The Dangerous Art of Dennis Cooper
Edited by Leora Lev

About the Editor :
Leora Lev is an Associate Professor at Bridgewater State College. She received her PhD in Romance Languages from Harvard. She has written essays on Spanish fiction, film, and culture and American avant-garde fiction, as well as journalism. her essay on Matador appeared in Post-Franco, Postmodern: The Films of Pedro Almodóvar, and she has published work in Spanish Writers on Gay and Lesbian Themes: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook, Film Quarterly, American Book Review, Journal of the History of Sexuality, Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, the Boston Phoenix, and other publications. She lives in Boston.




Dennis Cooper has been both praised and censured as the most controversial writer working today for his creation of a searing, outlaw textuality that charts psychosexual terrain uncensored by desire police. This volume is the first to explore Cooper’s significance as a pioneering literary artist who illuminates the hidden or repressed extremities of the fin de millennium American zeitgeist. Leora Lev has assembled a roster of internationally acclaimed scholars, fiction writers, filmmakers, and artists who conjure a provocative encounter between Cooper’s fiction, European transgressive literature and philosophy (e.g., Sade, Rimbaud, Bataille, Bresson), and American psychocultural topographies.

The volume engages with interlocking enigmas at the heart of Cooper’s oeuvre: the paradoxes of art that gestures toward the ineffable reaches of passion, death, epiphany, and paroxystic corporeality; the impacted mysteries within the (homo)erotic body, limned in blood; the jagged fault lines of memory and projection that would invoke impossible objects of desire; liaisons dangereuses between violence and eroticism, French philosophies of desire and contemporary American culture; the melancholia and mourning with which AIDS has infused psychosexual jouissance and gay male specularity; the allure and dangers of neo-gothic internet mise-en-abîmes of identity; queer slackers and revenants adrift in hallucinatory contemporary (sub)urbanscapes; and the challenges of an anarchic textuality that writes against both the mainstream and “alternative” literary grains.

Defying disciplinary border patrols, this volume includes a never-before-published piece by William S. Burroughs and contributions by legendary film iconoclast John Waters, Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham, luminaries Matthew Stadler, Robert Glück, Kevin Killian, Dodie Bellamy, Earl Jackson, Jr., Elizabeth Young, and other innovative writers. It will appeal to readers interested in intersections between transgressive literature and arts, avant-garde aesthetics, popular culture, queer fiction, neo-gothic subcultures, cinema, cyberspace, and absinthe-tinctured French odes to desire.

”Dennis Cooper’s sublime novels, poems, and stories have long been misunderstood and underexposed. Now Leora Lev has compiled a long overdue collection of essays – all written by an amazing bunch of Cooper’s contemporary novelists and critics – that show the writer as he truly is: one of the planet’s most original, devastating, visionary, and crucial literary icons. Enter at Your Own Risk is a knockout book.” –Scott Heim, author of Mysterious Skin (made into a 2005 film by Gregg Araki), In Awe, and We Disappear

ISBN 0-8386-4088-5


CONTENTS

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Enter at Your Own Risk: The Dangerous Art of Dennis Cooper
Leora Lev

Part I: Cooper’s Literary Lineages and Transgressive Traces
Death in Disneyland: The Work of Dennis Cooper
Elizabeth Young

Contextualizing Cooper
James Annesley

Notes on Frisk
William S. Burroughes (Edited by James Grauerholz)

Killer Looks: Dennis Cooper’s Tough Platonic Love
Earl Jackson, Jr.

Part II: Fruitful Perversity: Cooper and Cross-Media Pollinations
Digression as Power: Dennis Cooper and the Aesthetics of Distance
Dodie Bellamy

Guide to Trust #2
Kevin Killian

Notes Toward Caught
Brandon Stosuy and Lawrence Brose

Against the Grain: John Waters on Dennis Cooper (Interview)
Leora Lev

Part III: Beyond Queer: Subjectivity and Aesthetics in Dennis Cooper’s Writing
Death Drives Across Pornutopia: Dennis Cooper on the Extremities of Being
Earl Jackson, Jr.

A Dorian Gray Kind of Thing: Male-Male Desire and the Crisis of Representation in Dennis Cooper’s Closer
Marvin Taylor

Sacred Disorder of the Mind: Sublimity, Desire Police, and Dennis Cooper’s Hallucination of Words
Leora Lev

Oh, for a Little Despair: Try
Michael Cunningham

Part IV: Curtains
The Center Cannot Hold: My Loose Thread
Leora Lev

An Exacting Laxness
Matthew Stadler

Dennis Cooper (Interview)
Robert Glück

Notes on Contributors

Index

Interview with the Editor



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