A foundational work of queer theory.
First published anonymously in the notorious "Three Billion Perverts" issue of Félix Guattari's journal Recherches—banned by French authorities upon its release in 1973—The Screwball Asses was erroneously attributed to Guy Hocquenghem when it was first published in English in 2009. This second edition of that translation, with a new preface by Hocquenghem biographer Antoine Idier that clarifies the different theoretical positions within France’s Front Homosexuel d’Action Révolutionaire, returns the text to its true author: writer, journalist, and activist Christian Maurel.
In this dramatic treatise on erotic desire, Maurel takes on the militant delusions and internal contradictions of the gay-liberation movement. He vivisects not only the stifled mores of bourgeois capitalism, but also the phallocratic concessions of so-called homophiles and, ultimately, the very act of speaking desire. Rejecting any “pure theory” of homosexuality that would figure its “otherness” as revolutionary, Maurel contends that the ruling classes have invented homosexuality as a sexual ghetto, splitting and mutilating desire in the process. It is only when nondesire and the desire of desire are enacted simultaneously through speech and body that homosexuality can finally be sublimated under the true act of “making love.” There are thousands of sexes on earth, according to Maurel, but only one sexual desire. The Screwball Asses is a revelatory disquisition.
About the Author
Christian Maurel (1931–2011) was active in France’s Front Homosexuel d’Action Révolutionaire (Homosexual Front for Revolutionary Action) in the early-to-mid 1970s. He worked as a journalist for the Nouvel Observateur and L'Express, among other venues. In addition to poetry, he published a number of books and articles, including his notorious contribution to early queer theory, The Screwball Asses.
Antoine Idier is Associate Professor in Political Science at Sciences-Po Saint-Germain-en-Laye. He is the author of several publications on sexuality, politics, the history of ideas, contemporary visual art, and literature. Among other works, he has written a biography of the French queer theoretician and activist Guy Hocquenghem, and several books on LGBTQ archives, on the history of French LGBT movements, and on the visual artist Michel Journiac. In 2019 he was awarded a Archives Research Residency Fellowship by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.