Style: A Queer Cosmology

Taylor Black


NYU Press

While “style” is equated with fashion or convention in common parlance, Style: A Queer Cosmology
defines the term as a mode of expression that makes us more like ourselves and less like everyone else.
Taylor Black’s interdisciplinary conceptual analysis assembles texts, performances, and personae from
American culture that engage in ethical, creative, and performative modes of what he terms “abundant
revelation.” Moving back and forth through time, this book sketches American cosmologies cultivated by
iconic and subterranean American artists like Edgar Allan Poe, Flannery O’Connor, Nikki Giovanni, and
Bob Dylan. Presiding throughout is the book’s conceptual guide: latter-day American and notorious
homosexual Quentin Crisp, resurrected here as a philosopher of style.

As a scholarly intervention, Style participates in the critical work of revival and attunement―revitalizing
figures, terms, and ideas that have become too familiar. Returning to viewing the critic as a stylist,
Style: A Queer Cosmology leans into the study of things and qualities that are immanent and elude paraphrase or social scientific categorization. Style is about the possible rather than the probable, singularity over universals, personality instead of identity, the emergent and not the new―the mystery of becoming.