Maggie Nelson theorizes through her physical and textual body whether entrenched positions in queer theory—of antisociality or the radicality of non-procreative sex—still hold for twenty-first-century queer life. She proposes an alternative to the anti-relationality of the negative turn: radical receptivity. This receptivity engenders an experiential and phenomenological way of living in the world, performed in her pregnancy and her feminist citational practice. Through a surprising correlation between Leo Bersani, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Nelson’s pregnant body, the “grown man, legs high in the air” becomes the woman with her legs high in stirrups. Further, Nelson complicates the reproductive biopolitical imperatives critiqued by queer negativity through framing pregnancy as engaging death rather than promoting life. I argue that Nelson, through her consideration of queer antisociality and maternal morbidity, proposes the embodied experience of pregnancy as queer praxis and exhibits a methodology of receptivity adapted to modern queer life.
"The Morbidity of Maternity: Radical Receptivity in Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts,"
Criticism: Vol. 61:
3, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/criticism/vol61/iss3/3