Comments on: Humiliation and Longing: Part II of my discussion with Tenured Radical of Terry Castle’s The Professor http://www.historiann.com/2010/07/21/humiliation-and-longing-part-ii-of-my-discussion-with-tenured-radical-of-terry-castles-the-professor/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Mon, 22 Sep 2014 04:23:22 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: "Not All Girls Are Raving Bloody Lesbians, You Know:" Getting You In The Mood For Part II Of The Terry Castle Conversation, Now Up at Historiann - Tenured Radical - The Chronicle of Higher Education http://www.historiann.com/2010/07/21/humiliation-and-longing-part-ii-of-my-discussion-with-tenured-radical-of-terry-castles-the-professor/comment-page-1/#comment-842487 Sat, 25 Jun 2011 16:47:33 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=11796#comment-842487 [...] enough to find all the pieces. I now command you to go to Part II of the Terry Castle discussion, “Humiliation and Longing,” and if you haven’t been there yet, to our partner in crime Comrade Physioprof, who delivers a [...]

]]>
By: She'll Always Be A Player On The Ballfield Of My Heart: Tenured Radical And Historiann Wrap Up Their Conversation About The Professor - Tenured Radical - The Chronicle of Higher Education http://www.historiann.com/2010/07/21/humiliation-and-longing-part-ii-of-my-discussion-with-tenured-radical-of-terry-castles-the-professor/comment-page-1/#comment-840706 Tue, 21 Jun 2011 21:33:04 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=11796#comment-840706 [...] 2010 — if you are new to the party, you may wish to begin with Part I.) Yesterday, at Historiann, we discussed the themes of desire and longing that suffuse Castle’s narrative about her [...]

]]>
By: Slouching Into Fall: Best Books of Summer 2010 - Tenured Radical - The Chronicle of Higher Education http://www.historiann.com/2010/07/21/humiliation-and-longing-part-ii-of-my-discussion-with-tenured-radical-of-terry-castles-the-professor/comment-page-1/#comment-840704 Tue, 21 Jun 2011 21:32:32 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=11796#comment-840704 [...] (HarperCollins, 2010.) The subject of a three part conversation between myself and Historiann here, here, and here — with a special contribution from Comrade PhysioProf, this series of essays on [...]

]]>
By: Meanwhile, back at El Rancho Radical: Part III of our discussion of Terry Castle’s The Professor : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present http://www.historiann.com/2010/07/21/humiliation-and-longing-part-ii-of-my-discussion-with-tenured-radical-of-terry-castles-the-professor/comment-page-1/#comment-672395 Thu, 22 Jul 2010 17:30:20 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=11796#comment-672395 [...] II, “Humiliation and Longing,” with a video bonus of the elegiac sound stylings of Art [...]

]]>
By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/07/21/humiliation-and-longing-part-ii-of-my-discussion-with-tenured-radical-of-terry-castles-the-professor/comment-page-1/#comment-672320 Thu, 22 Jul 2010 12:54:23 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=11796#comment-672320 Brian–glad you’re enjoying the discussion and the book. I see what you’re saying. I wonder if the point of relationships like that are never really “resolved.” Either the subordinate person must break off all contact with The Professor, or be consumed/destroyed? It may sound overly dramatic to people who (fortunately for them) have never been in such a relationship. But Castle’s Professor held all of the cards over her–personal and professional–or so it seemed. She was in a very vulnerable place, and even as a successful professor herself couldn’t say “no” to that dinner invitation years later at the MLA.

]]>
By: Brian Herrera http://www.historiann.com/2010/07/21/humiliation-and-longing-part-ii-of-my-discussion-with-tenured-radical-of-terry-castles-the-professor/comment-page-1/#comment-672085 Thu, 22 Jul 2010 04:06:39 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=11796#comment-672085 Thanks, Historiann, I’m a long-time lurker (previously commenting only under my nom-de-blog StinkyLulu). Glad to bump into this discussion.

About that crocodile:
I have to say that I thought it a perfect ending. Not that it was necessarily good, mind you. Rather, I thought its clumsiness encapsulated TC’s dramaqueeniness (not to mention her occasionally curious taste) and it proved an effective device to resolve the Blakey thread and Professor thread simultaneously. It definitely put a button on a lot of things for me. And TC does build subtly to it as a resolution throughout the book, so I’m not sure it’s a hailmary-finale.

]]>
By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/07/21/humiliation-and-longing-part-ii-of-my-discussion-with-tenured-radical-of-terry-castles-the-professor/comment-page-1/#comment-671924 Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:30:45 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=11796#comment-671924 Yeah, CPP–a friend of mine calls that the “and then the cops came” kind of ending. Oates’s books all kind of fizzle out–she’s better on the dramatic revelations in the middle of the story than the endings of her stories. (It wasn’t that creepy one about the young girl and the old man, was it? I read that over spring break, and if I weren’t running around Paris most of the time I would have been really freaked out.)

]]>
By: Comrade PhysioProf http://www.historiann.com/2010/07/21/humiliation-and-longing-part-ii-of-my-discussion-with-tenured-radical-of-terry-castles-the-professor/comment-page-1/#comment-671921 Wed, 21 Jul 2010 19:26:32 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=11796#comment-671921

The “crocodile coda” is the key (if a little heavy-handed.)

I thought that was the worst part of the whole thing. After fuckjillions of words that were so fucking subtle and witty and just lulled you gently into Castle’s head, the crocodile shit was a fucking bludgeon.

I have never written a book, but I wonder if this is what happens when you are just too exhausted to finish a book properly, and you kind of phone it in, relying on hackneyed crap. I had this feeling about Joyce Carol Oates’s most recent novel (I forget what the fucking thing was called). It was really good, with lots of surprising and dramatic shit, and then in the final part of the book the two protagonists have HOT SEX! and then realize WE CAN NEVER BE TOGETHER! and GO BACK TO THEIR SEPARATE LIVES! Bleahh.

]]>
By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/07/21/humiliation-and-longing-part-ii-of-my-discussion-with-tenured-radical-of-terry-castles-the-professor/comment-page-1/#comment-671905 Wed, 21 Jul 2010 18:57:49 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=11796#comment-671905 Brian–welcome, and great points. The “crocodile coda” is the key (if a little heavy-handed.) The willingness of the prey is an important part of the story, as you note. That final encounter at the MLA with The (now wheelchair-bound) Professor was fascinating, wasn’t it? She clearly was still in predator mode, still looking to beat Terry at something (wheelchair basketball, as I recall.)

I’m sure Castle is correct that she was willing prey–and it’s important to the narrative structure of her story that she’s not “just” a victim of treachery. But this relates to larger questions of women’s agency and how feminism today is unwilling to say “false consciousness” any more. (There’s a parallel issue with agency in the historical profession, I would say.) That is, whatever a woman does is supposed to be “feminist” simply by virtue of a woman having made a decision for herself. So (for example), women a generation younger than me and who are not sex workers go to college parties, dance around stripper poles, and lift up their shirts because a group of men shout “show us your tits!” (My students have told me about parties like this that they have attended.) See, it’s liberation because these women are doing what they want to do! And it’s considered impolite to ask where they got these ideas, and why they’re behaving like sex workers only without getting paid.

It’s become politically unfashionable to admit that anyone’s a victim, so we all walk around telling ourselves that we chose our victimization so it’s OK.

]]>
By: Brian Herrera http://www.historiann.com/2010/07/21/humiliation-and-longing-part-ii-of-my-discussion-with-tenured-radical-of-terry-castles-the-professor/comment-page-1/#comment-671899 Wed, 21 Jul 2010 18:36:22 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=11796#comment-671899 I agree that Castle’s telling on her former self in “The Professor” in exactly the “humiliating and longing” fashion TR describes. (Castle does seem to regard her past self with the same mix of affection/longing and embarrassment/humiliation as she does womyn’s music.)

But I also think that astonishing crocodile coda is the key to understanding what makes “The Professor” so compelling a piece, and somewhat distinct from the rest of the book (though perhaps closest connected to the Pepper piece). In “The Professor,” for me at least, we hear a really complicated account of what it’s like to meet a predator and to become that predator’s willing prey. It’s not that the relationship could have destroyed Castle, but that it came very close to destroying everything about Castle that Castle (at the time) believed herself to be. And penultimate MLA encounter combined with the crocodile coda reminds us that, as much as Castle may eschew aspects of her past self, she remains just that tiny bit susceptible to the confident predator’s thrall. (I’m reminded here, too, of Castle’s luxurious account of her disastrous encounter with the scholarship adjudicator.)

]]>