(photo: Jay Muhlin) I’ve been ruminating on a longer post about Eve’s work. She’s had a real influence not only on my scholarship, but also on my creative writing manuscript, for her book, A Dialogue on Love. But, I’m remiss in not posting about her loss sooner than later.

So, here’s a taste of the NYT piece on her life and work:

Ms. Sedgwick broke new ground when, drawing on feminist scholarship and the work of the French poststructuralist Michel Foucault, she began teasing out the hidden socio-sexual subplots in writers like Charles Dickens and Henry James. In a 1983 essay on Dickens’s novel “Our Mutual Friend,” she drew attention to the homoerotic element in the obsessive relationship between Eugene Wrayburn and Bradley Headstone, rivals for the love of Lizzie Hexam but emotionally most fully engaged when facing off against each other.

And Richard Kim on the impact of her scholarship:

It is difficult to calculate the impact of Sedgwick’s scholarship, in part because its legacy is still in the making, but also because she worked at a skew to so many fields of inquiry. Feminism, queer theory, psychoanalysis and literary, legal and disability studies–Sedgwick complicated and upended them all, sometimes in ways that infuriated more anodyne scholars, but always in ways that pushed established parameters.

In one of her more audacious insights, Sedgwick proposed two ways of understanding homosexuality: a “minoritizing view” in which there is “a distinct population of persons who ‘really are’ gay,” and a “universalizing view” in which sexual desire is unpredictable and fluid, in which “apparently heterosexual persons…are strongly marked by same-sex influences.” Think of it, in shorthand, as the difference between Ellen Degeneres’ “Yep, I’m gay!” and Gore Vidal’s “There is no such thing as a homosexual or heterosexual person; there are only homo- or heterosexual acts.”

Sedgwick wasn’t interested in validating either view, but rather in how these two views compete and collude in ways that produce an “irreducible incoherence” (see Mark Edmundson’s review of Epistemology in The Nation).