The Argonauts (Hardcover)
As she did with Bluets, Maggie Nelson brings philosophy and queer theory to the personal stories she shares of love, relationships, and (now) parenthood. I would pair this book with Jenny Offill's Dept. of Speculation and Sarah Manguso's Ongoingness: The End of A Diary. Nelson is just so masterful at allowing for a fluid boundary between the intellectual and the intertextual, the art and the artifice, the poetic, and the personal. And if you ask nicely, I'll tell you a story about the Anne Carson interview she mentions on page 49. (Emily)— From Emily
An intrepid voyage out to the frontiers of the latest thinking about love, language, and family
Maggie Nelson's "The Argonauts "is a genre-bending memoir, a work of "autotheory" offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance: the story of the author's relationship with the artist Harry Dodge. This story, which includes Nelson's account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a pregnancy, offers a firsthand account of the complexities and joys of (queer) family-making.
Writing in the spirit of public intellectuals such as Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes, Nelson binds her personal experience to a rigorous exploration of what iconic theorists have said about sexuality, gender, and the vexed institutions of marriage and child-rearing. Nelson's insistence on radical individual freedom and the value of caretaking becomes the rallying cry of this thoughtful, unabashed, uncompromising book.
About the Author
Maggie Nelson is a poet, critic, and nonfiction author of books such as The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning, Bluets, and Jane: A Murder. She teaches in the School of Critical Studies at CalArts and lives in Los Angeles, California.