Title

Late Sam See

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

2020

Department

English

Language

English

Publication Title

Queer Natures, Queer Mythologies

Abstract

Late in his life, at a moment when a young scholar might polish his portfolio in a familiar academic ritual, Sam See did something recklessly brave.

Sam had already written a remarkable book discerning Darwin's "comic vision." Queer Natures reread both the evolution of literature from Victorian to modern and the history of queer theory in oscillating discourse. Sam's clear-eyed interdisciplinary reading found in Darwin's Origin of Species the "radical possiblity of representing and creating the material mutability of the natural world itself" (see "Charles Darwin, Queer Theorist"). In discovering the queer inherent in Darwin's forms, Sam wrested the idea of "the natural" away from the familiar frames of Foucault's archeology of knowledge and Freud's persistent myth. It was a monumental project to recuperate nature and the natural as an essential category of inquiry for queer theory and modern literature. Sam showed us, to paraphrase Virginia Woolf, how the proper understanding of nature is "a little other than custom would have us believe."

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