The Misfits

The Misfits : Study of Sexual Outsiders

3.73 (79 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback
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Product details

  • Hardback | 388 pages
  • 168 x 228 x 36mm | 680.39g
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • Grafton
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0246129743
  • 9780246129741

Review Text

Wilson's 39th book, a provocative history and interpretation of sexual rebellion that allows this most optimistic of authors to once again explicate the theory he's been promoting since The Outsider (1956): that each of us can, by an act of will, wake up from the somnabulism of our lives. Here, as usual, Wilson gazes without flinching at some of the nastiest and least understood of behaviors. For his frame, he chooses the bizarre story of Charlotte Bach, a psychologist who held the odd theory that civilization arises from frictional energy generated by the unconscious wish of all men to be women, and vice versa - a wish, Bach claimed, perfectly embodied in the sexual deviate. Bach came to this theory from her study of transvestites; the kicker is that after her death, she was revealed to be Mr. Carl Hajdu, transvestite. Intrigued by Bach's ideas, Wilson here examines sexual deviates and pornography from de Sade to Mishima, covering along the way - often in X-rated detail, with an emphasis on sadism, fetishism, and homosexuality - the lives and works of, among others, Samuel Richardson, Lord Byron, Gogol and Pushkin, "Waiter" (author of the Victorian pornographic classic My Secret Life), T.E. Lawrence, James Joyce, Henry Miller, and Wittgenstein. Wilson's conclusion, reached through careful analysis and argument, is that sexual deviancy - which he sees as arising en masse simultanously with the Romantic Revolution - is a misguided effort to "superheat" the imagination to break through our daydream life into greater reality. Wilson contends, however, that "the sexual urge is not powerful enough to lift us to a new level of conscious awareness"; for that, he states, a moment-to-moment exertion of the intellect via a power he calls "Faculty X" is needed. A wonderfully smooth writer, Wilson challenges and engages in this radical reassessment of sexuality that some will find too graphic to bear but that others will, hopefully, recognize as yet another noteworthy, if relatively minor, casting of thought by one of the more visionary writers of our time. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

79 ratings
3.73 out of 5 stars
5 16% (13)
4 44% (35)
3 37% (29)
2 1% (1)
1 1% (1)
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