The Fine Details: Torture and the Social Order

Darieck Scott

in Speaking about Torture

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780823242245
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823242283 | DOI:
The Fine Details: Torture and the Social Order

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This chapter considers Samuel Delany’s contention in “Pornography and Censorship” that censorship of representations of the suffering and pleasures of human bodies is directly related to the practice of political torture. Arguing that a humanist inquiry into censorship cuts to the basic question of who we are as Americans, it explores the content and publication history of Delany’s Hogg, a novel that had difficulty securing a publisher because of its pornographic depictions of violence, sexual torture, and rape. What the relentless sexual violence of Hogg helps to expose is a collective refusal to acknowledge the violence of the everyday, especially as it is deployed against women, children, and persons of color. In its curiously blasé narrative voice, Hogg provides a less censored vision of who humans are: both an ego fleeing with such aversion from pain that one of its chief pleasures is to inflict it on others and a non-egotistical, receptive entelechy that embraces without judgment the pains and pleasures of all others.

Keywords: Censorship; Euphemism; Sexual violence; Samuel DelanySamuel DelanySamuel DelanySamuel Delany; Hogg; “Pornography and Censorship”

Chapter.  12194 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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