Artist Projects

The Argonauts

Maggie Nelson

The Argonauts is a book that combines autobiography and theoretical inquiry to address issues of gender, queerness, family-making, identity and the limitations and possibilities of language. At its heart lie D. W. Winnicott's ideas of "good enough" mothering and ordinary devotion, Wittgenstein's idea of ordinary language as being "all right," the critique of paranoid logic and celebration of the reparative as offered by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and related ruminations on happiness and freedom. In form, The Argonauts is essentially a long essay, which contains within it the story of the author's pregnancy, running alongside that of her partner's gender transition. In spirit, The Argonauts belongs to what Wayne Koestenbaum has recently termed (writing about Herve Guilbert) the "philosophically inclined subset of body-smeared literature." Graywolf Press published the book in 2015.

Project Updates

  • 2015: The Argonauts is published by Graywolf Press on May 5, 2015