restricted access “On the Unspeakable”: Delany, Desire, and the Tactic of Transgression

In this article, I explore Samuel Delany’s notoriously “unpublishable” novel Hogg through his conceptualization of “the unspeakable”: ways of transgressive sexual being and knowing that are simultaneously pleasurable and political. In understanding Hogg as transgressive, I suggest its characters play with limits and boundaries to trouble, not transcend, structures of containment on both the right and the left. I suggest that reading transgression as a political tactic through the unspeakable reveals, among other critically advantageous concepts, why and how both the right and left attempt to delimit identities and what can and cannot be spoken of or written about.