Empty Closets

I just found that (the excellent comics academic) Jeet Heer has a blog. Good news!
His latest post is a brief history of classics scholarship. He demonstrates it to be in large part the sublimation of hidden homoerotic desires into scholarship. But, after a couple millennia of Christian (and Jewish and Islamic) prohibitions of same-sex desire, the closet has been thrown open and the repressed sexual energies have dissipated. Are we at an end of the classics now that repressed desire is no longer channelled into mastering difficult texts? (This is a very truncated go read the whole thing and come back).

Jeet states in his post that we got the classics from the Greeks. Via Michel Foucault we are told that the Greeks didn’t have the same hang ups about same-sex-sex as we do. The dynamics of sexual relations were dictated by active or passive categories, not male or female ones. This maybe a minor quibble, but how did the Greeks leave us with all those great classics if they weren’t trapped in the closet? Clearly sexual sublimation finds other channels. Classics scholars maybe (largely) out the closet, but we’re not yet in a perfect age of desublimation. Perhaps this somewhat misanthropic quote from another Frenchman, Michel Houellebecq, points towards something: “Those who love life do not read. Nor do they go to the movies actually. No matter what might be said, access to the artistic universe is more or less entirely the preserve of those a little fed up with the world.” (from H.P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life) Lets hope most theoretically-no-longer-sexually-repressed classics scholars are still a bit fed up with the world.