Seminar: Revolutionary Sex in Walton's *Troilus and Cressida*

Our first Speaker will be Dr Paul Harper-Scott (Royal Holloway). He will be presenting in Seminar Room 3 of the LHRI at 5.15pm on Thursday the 27th of September. His paper is titled "Revolutionary Sex in Walton's *Troilus and Cressida*".

William Walton's opera *Troilus and Cressida* is an unexpectedly arresting intervention in the ideological field of sexuality and gender. Drawing on theories of sex, love, pornography, and communism by Jacques Lacan, Alain Badiou, and Giorgio Agamben, this paper argues that the circling of desire around the structural impossibility of a sexual connexion leads Troilus and Cressida to challenge culturally mandated scripts for normative heterosexuality in modernity. Paying particular attention to the pornographic interlude in which they consummate their love and the paradoxical deepening of their commitment to one another through Cressida's betrayal of Troilus, it suggests possibilities for conceiving a revolutionary love. Such a love, rather than acting out possibilities already culturally encoded in a particular sexuality or gender, can have the effect of creating new forms of human subjectivity.

Paul Harper-Scott is Reader in Musicology and Theory at RHUL. He has written widely on Wagner and post-Wagnerian operatic and symphonic music, drawing heavily on the philosophy and theory of Heidegger, Badiou, Zizek, and Marx. His third book, "The Quilting Points of Musical Modernism", is just out from CUP.


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