Beyond the Body

Guillaume Dustan and the Poetics of Materialization

in Journal of Bodies, Sexualities, and Masculinities
Michael ValinskyWriter

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French writer Guillaume Dustan sparked rampant controversy in the 1990s and early 2000s because of his views on barebacking—practicing unprotected sex—as an irresistible prohibition and a duty to his serostatus. In Oeuvres I, a collection of three novels, all published between 1996 and 1998, Dustan explores his seropositivity through a text engorged with pleasure, sadomasochism, and desire. I contend that, in the encounter with the phallic text, the reader engages in an act of linguistic barebacking, taking in the author's raw language as it becomes a site for erotic power and reproductive seropositivity. I will consider the seropositive text as a body that resists the latex, that cruises an unidentified reader, and that unapologetically penetrates them with the erotic qualities of its language.

Contributor Notes

Michael Valinsky is a French American writer based in Paris. He received his Bachelor of Arts in poetics at New York University and his Master of Science in gender, media, and culture at the London School of Economics. His work as a researcher is at the intersection of gender and sexuality studies, critical theory, psychoanalysis, and literary criticism. He has specifically researched intergenerational trauma as it travels through representations of sexualities in the twentieth century. His work has been published in Paper Magazine, i-D Magazine, them, Hyperallergic, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Kirkus Reviews, among others. He is the author of .TXT, Zurich: 89plus/LUMA Publications, 2014. Email: ORCID:

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