The Lonely Letters

Ashon T. Crawley (Author)


In The Lonely Letters, A tells Moth: "Writing about and thinking with joy is what sustains me, daily. It nourishes me. I do not write about joy primarily because I always have it. I write about joy, Black joy, because I want to generate it, I want it to emerge, I want to participate in its constant unfolding." But alongside joy, A admits to Moth, come loneliness, exclusion, and unfulfilled desire. The Lonely Letters is an epistolary blackqueer critique of the normative world in which Ashon T. Crawley--writing as A--meditates on the interrelation of blackqueer life, sounds of the Black church, theology, mysticism, and love. Throughout his letters, A explores blackness and queerness in the musical and embodied experience of Blackpentecostal spaces and the potential for platonic and erotic connection in a world that conspires against blackqueer life. Both a rigorous study and a performance, The Lonely Letters gestures toward understanding the capacity for what we study to work on us, to transform us, and to change how we inhabit the world.

Product Details

$26.95  $24.26
Duke University Press
Publish Date
April 10, 2020
6.7 X 0.6 X 8.5 inches | 1.0 pounds

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About the Author

Ashon T. Crawley is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and African American Studies at the University of Virginia and author of Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility.


"Ashon T. Crawley pushes his readers to contemplate the intimacy of living the life of the mind as a spiritual, enfleshed, and intellectual matter. Rejecting the intellect/emotion division through a rendering of intimacy and desire, The Lonely Letters stands as the achievement of aspirations long discussed but largely elusive in both feminist and queer criticism. A stunning and innovative work."--Imani Perry, author of "Vexy Thing: On Gender and Liberation"
"The Lonely Letters is a joyful mourning, a celebratory treatise, a rigorous performance, and an analysis of race and philosophy, aesthetics and blackness, and much more. I could not put it down and at points found myself laughing and in tears, all the while learning. Truly pathbreaking, it is an astounding, innovative, and deeply affecting work."--Nicole R. Fleetwood, author of "On Racial Icons: Blackness and the Public Imagination"