A blend of the silly and the extravagant that puts the serious into conversation with the ridiculous, camp today is often signified by elements of eighteenth-century Europe with its elaborate hairstyles, exaggerated silhouettes, affected courtiers, and a rise in the consumption of exotic goods, candelabras, masks, and other markers of elite excess (often with a nod to the era’s demise in the form of either the French Revolution or subsequent Victorian strictures). Camp’s relation to queer modes of performance and its prioritization of style over (or in conjunction with) substance offers a queer aesthetic lens to re-evaluate the eighteenth century and the current moment. In this special issue on “camp” and/in the long eighteenth century, we hold that this is not just a twentieth-century reference to an imagined past, but a concept that indeed does have its roots in eighteenth-century Europe. It is also a concept deeply rooted in constructions of gender and, whether implicitly or explicitly, a vital element in the lives of long eighteenth-century female artists, writers, and thinkers. This critical introduction to our special issue on eighteenth-century camp argues why eighteenth-century camp is a concept both timely and necessary to eighteenth-century studies, and what these individual essays, and this issue as a whole, contribute to our understanding of the eighteenth century, aesthetics, politics, gender, and sexuality.
camp, aesthetics, eighteenth-century, feminism, queer
Klein, Ula Lukszo and Kugler, Emily MN
"Eighteenth-Century Camp Introduction,"
ABO: Interactive Journal for Women in the Arts, 1640-1830: Vol.9: Iss.1, Article 1.
Available at: https://scholarcommons.usf.edu/abo/vol9/iss1/1