What is stone in Stone Butch Blues? This essay looks to the material properties of stone and stonelike objects to re-examine the affective and relational specificity of stone butch sexuality in Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues (1993). It invokes recent ecological and new materialist critiques within queer theory to return to this monumental text for the purpose of establishing the contemporary relevance of stone butch sexuality, now an outmoded sexual orientation. By taking seriously the text’s nonhuman signifiers, this essay argues that hard and obdurate materials and their inherent mutability provide a source of language and theory for the emergence of stone butch life in 1950s Buffalo. Stone’s rigidity, I argue, is inherently connected to the imaginative and ephemeral possibilities of desire that mark stone butch sexuality. The material qualities of stone endow it with an expansive temporality from the deep past to the far future with and beyond human life, and this material endurance points to temporal orientations in the novel that resist historicization and insist upon a futural existence for the stone butch “yet to come.” To conclude, the essay turns to Jacques Derrida’s Archive Fever (1996) to demonstrate how stone, as the very embodiment of an archive, counters impulses to memorialize and charts a deviant future for the stone butch through the transformative potential of material life.
"Hard Road Ahead: Stone’s Queer Agency in Stone Butch Blues,"
Criticism: Vol. 62:
4, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/criticism/vol62/iss4/3