Writing the Voice of Pleasure
The Voice of Pleasure makes a persuasive and fascinating argument that the romantic couple of Western representation is not heterosexual. Nor is it homosexual. With insightful new readings of landmarks of Western culture from Tristan and Yseut to Seinfeld, Callahan demonstrates that the illusion of heterosexuality is created by a male artist's assumption of a feminine voice to express desire. Named the 'troubadour effect' for the first time here, this tradition of male femininity in romantic writing results in a cultural model of desire best described as 'heterosexuality without women.' The most compelling aspect of the book is its attention to the effect of this paradox on women writers. Illuminating her argument with striking examples from the 'troubairitz' to Toni Morrison, the author shows how women writers inscribe their 'vagabondage,' a term she coins to name the consequences of the 'troubadour effect' for women's agency, as both writers and lovers.