Faye Guenther on Archives, Memoir, and Queer Histories

Professor Faye Guenther‘s latest academic article has been published in a recent issue of Australian Feminist Studies (32, 2017).  Read the abstract below, and click here to access the full text of the article. Congratulations, Faye!


In this article I argue that literary texts which represent queer counterpublic experiences from the past and are written in the genre of creative memoir can function as a form of literary archive. I focus on three creative memoirs written about queer counterpublic experience during the last quarter of the twentieth century to examine the archival qualities that they possess. Eileen Myles’ Inferno (A Poet’s Novel) [(2010). New York: OR Books], Samuel R. Delany’s Times Square Red, Times Square Blue[(1999). New York: New York University Press], and David Wojnarowicz’s Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration [(1991). New York: Vintage] each offer different perspectives on queer quotidian life in New York City. A significant element of this literary archive is that it develops and amplifies historical consciousness about the existence of counterpublic culture and how it has changed through alterations to queer space. Using a technical term from archival science, I argue that the creative memoir can be defined as a ‘record’. In developing my argument I amend this term to ‘texts-as-records’. I argue that these texts-as-records make material experiences and relations visible and traceable. I contend that texts-as-records can constitute a primary archival source for studying queer counterpublic histories.