Queer Spaces in “Another Country”

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In James Baldwin’s “Another Country,” the author constructs a tale that is deeply founded in his character’s desire and inability to construct the spaces of a ‘queer’ New York.Much of the book deals with issues of the individual versus society, as each one of his characters is trying to invent and sustain a complete identity within a monolithic society that is in direct discordance with their needs and desires. Baldwin targets issues of sexuality, race, gender, isolation, relationships, and intersectionality, and by using New York City as his setting, allows for a multidimensional cast of characters who can be studied through the use of cultural geography.
In his book “The Practice of Everyday Life,” theorist Michel De Certeau wrote about the differences between the ideas of ‘place’ and ‘space.’ By his definition, ‘place’ implies stability and fixity. It is something that is known and that can be defined, whereas ‘spaces’ are intersections of ever-changing mobile components. A space comes into existence as the result of the operations that situate and temporize it and is layered with histories and experiences. In his own words, “space is a practiced place” (De Certeau, 117). To give an example, maps are inherently depictions of places because they have been divorced from any agenda. Tours, on the other hand, are of spaces that have been lived in and walked through. Additionally, De Certeau’s writings were influenced by sociologist Henri Lefebvre, who in 1974 presented the idea of the “production of space”, which claims that any social space is, and can only be, produced by the values and standards of the people within it. These definitions, then, permit one to understand the world in which Baldwin has written his queer characters as informing and being informed by the ‘socio-spatial dialectic.’
In this discussion of queerness, it is important to define exactly the way in which the term will be used in the context of this …