What is Camp? (Sontag) | Definition, Examples & Analysis (2024)

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Defining camp: Sontag's "Notes on 'Camp'"

Camp is an aesthetic, a style, an attitude, a sensibility. Camp is about performance, exaggeration, and subversion. It embraces both the “too much” and the “less than”; it goes above and beyond while not shying away from the vulgar, the low-brow. Camp embraces both high culture and low culture, ignoring a hierarchy between the two. It plays fast and loose with sincerity, flippantly waving off the serious while taking the ridiculous, the outlandish, and the frivolous seriously. You come to know camp when you see it.

In “Notes on ‘Camp,’” the 1964 essay that brought “camp” into the intellectual conversation, Susan Sontag describes camp as “a vision of the world in terms of style – but a particular kind of style. It is the love of the exaggerated, the ‘off’, of things-being-what-they-are-not” (reprinted in Camp, 1999). In a broad sense, camp can be defined as an aesthetic style which embraces bad taste and irony. As Sontag puts it

Camp sees everything in quotation marks. [...] To perceive Camp in objects and persons is to understand Being-as-Playing-a-Role. It is the farthest extension, in sensibility, of the metaphor of life as theater. ([1964], 1999)

Camp: Queer Aesthetics and the Performing Subject: A Reader

Edited by Fabio Cleto

Camp sees everything in quotation marks. [...] To perceive Camp in objects and persons is to understand Being-as-Playing-a-Role. It is the farthest extension, in sensibility, of the metaphor of life as theater. ([1964], 1999)

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For Sontag, “[t]he hallmark of Camp is the spirit of extravagance”:

Camp is a woman walking around in a dress made of three million feathers. [...] Gaudí’s lurid and beautiful buildings in Barcelona are Camp not only because of their style but because they reveal – most notably in the Cathedral of the Sagrada Família - the ambition on the part of one man to do what it takes a generation, a whole culture to accomplish. ([1964] 1999)

As we can see, it is easy to describe camp, to name its qualities, and to provide examples, but it is difficult to provide a neat definition of camp itself. Camp is a quality of an object or person, a lens for seeing the world, and an action. Camp is an adjective (camp, campy, campish), a noun (camp, campness, campiness), an adverb (campily), and a verb (to camp, to camp it up); it can be lowercase or capitalized (Cleto, 1999). Camp has become a critical/academic term, even a field called “camp studies,” engaging with cultural materialism, queer theory, gay and lesbian studies, sociology, feminism, gender studies, and media studies; and concepts like poststructuralism, postmodernism, gender performativity, and the carnivalesque.

Sontag considers camp a “sensibility,” which is “one of the hardest things to talk about” because a “sensibility is almost, but not quite, ineffable” ([1964] 1999). In fact, for Sontag, “To talk about Camp is [...] to betray it” (1964, [1999]).

Camp is thus a slippery term by nature and avoids a clear definition. In his introduction to Camp (1999), a reader that pulls together some of the most significant writings on camp since the 1950s, Fabio Cleto addresses the challenges of definition:

Representational excess, heterogeneity, and gratuitousness of reference, in constituting a major raison d’être of camp’s fun and exclusiveness, both signal and contribute to an overall resistance to definition, drawing the contours of an aesthetic of (critical) failure: the longing, in fact, for a common, constant trait (or for an intrinsic, essential, stabilising ‘core’) in all that has been historically ascribed to camp, or the identification of its precise origins and developments, sooner or later ends up being frustrating, challenging the critic as such, as it challenges the cultural imperatives that rely on the manageability of discrete (distinct and docile) historical and aesthetic categories. (1999)

Camp: Queer Aesthetics and the Performing Subject: A Reader

Edited by Fabio Cleto

Representational excess, heterogeneity, and gratuitousness of reference, in constituting a major raison d’être of camp’s fun and exclusiveness, both signal and contribute to an overall resistance to definition, drawing the contours of an aesthetic of (critical) failure: the longing, in fact, for a common, constant trait (or for an intrinsic, essential, stabilising ‘core’) in all that has been historically ascribed to camp, or the identification of its precise origins and developments, sooner or later ends up being frustrating, challenging the critic as such, as it challenges the cultural imperatives that rely on the manageability of discrete (distinct and docile) historical and aesthetic categories. (1999)

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By challenging clear historical trends, styles, and value systems, camp troubles the ability of the critic to define the term itself. In fact, failure is essential to camp. As Sontag writes, in pure camp, “the essential element is seriousness, a seriousness that fails” (1964, [1999]). Camp has grand ambitions, and takes those ambitions seriously, but successful camp fails extravagantly.

Mark Booth attempts to provide a concise definition of camp from which everything else about the concept unfolds: “To be camp is to present oneself as being committed to the marginal with a commitment greater than the marginal merits” (“Camp-Toi!,” Camp, 1999). This idea of overenthusiasm for the underappreciated perhaps reveals part of the point of camp: to not just take seriously what others might revile, devalue, or dismiss, but to celebrate it.

Examples of camp can be found in any age, in high art and pop culture alike, from opera houses to vaudeville stages to political rallies. Cleto offers a list exemplifying camp’s capaciousness: he describes a “‘queer’ campground” that includes “Oscar Wilde with Charles de Gaulle and, yes, with Benito Mussolini (oh, dear)”; drag persona, Divine; “Caravaggio with Andy Warhol [...] Mozart with David Bowie” (1999).

In this guide, we’ll provide an overview of camp’s origins and essential points raised in Sontag’s groundbreaking “Notes on ‘Camp.’” Then we’ll examine some examples and debated types of camp, as well as camp’s intersections with queer culture and politics.

Origins of camp

Sontag dates camp’s aesthetic origins to the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. While examples of camp can be found in any age, Sontag considers this period “the soundest starting point” because of its “extraordinary feeling for artifice, for surface, for symmetry; its taste for the picturesque and the thrilling” and its embrace of conventions like “the flourish (in gesture and in music)” that exhibit a cultural camp sensibility” ([1964], 1999). Rococo churches, the writings of Alexander Pope and Horace Walpole, and the (later) music and style of Mozart are classic illustrations of camp from this period.

In the nineteenth century, “what had been distributed throughout all of high culture now becomes a special taste; it takes on overtones of the acute, the esoteric, the perverse” (Sontag, [1964], 1999). In other words, the camp sensibility that had infiltrated high culture in general now became an exclusive taste of a select group of the elite, but also a taste that went against some prevailing cultural values/attitudes.

The nineteenth-century dandy is an important cultural precedent to the contemporary connoisseur of camp, with Oscar Wilde serving as a transitional figure. The dandy was “overbred,” indulging in exclusive experiences of “good taste” and elite detachment; camp, as the “modern dandyism,” finds pleasure in the low, the coarse, the art of the masses as much as aristocratic aesthetics (Sontag, [1964], 1999). All objects, for camp, are equivalent, from the mass-produced to the one-of-a-kind. As Sontag writes, “Camp is the answer to the problem: how to be a dandy in the age of mass culture”:

Where the dandy would be continually offended or bored, the connoisseur of Camp is continually amused, delighted. The dandy held a perfumed handkerchief to his nostrils and was liable to swoon; the connoisseur of Camp sniffs the stink and prides himself on his strong nerves. (1964, [1999])

The term “camp” itself first entered “sanctioned” language space in a 1909 dictionary of late-Victorian slang. It gained currency in theatrical, fashion, and underground scenes, as well as, since the 1920s, in the drag urban scene (see Esther Newton’s seminal Mother Camp, 1972), and even found some “clandestine circulation in high culture” (Cleto, 1999). Christopher Isherwood’s 1954 novel The World in the Evening offered perhaps the first major attempt to define camp in print. Isherwood’s character Charles differentiates “Low Camp” —what “queer circles” call “camping,” exemplified by “a swishy little boy with peroxided hair, dressed in a picture hat and a feature boa, pretending to be Marlene Dietrich” —from “High Camp”:

You see, true High Camp always has an underlying seriousness. You can’t camp about something if you don’t take it seriously. You’re not making fun of it; you’re making fun out of it. You’re expressing what’s basically serious to you in terms of fun and artifice and elegance. (excerpted in Camp, 1999)

A decade later, Sontag’s “Notes on ‘Camp’” addressed camp intellectually, showing that the term ought to be taken seriously by critics and academics. As Isherwood’s character Charles said, “I never can understand how critics manage to do without it” (1999). Since Sontag’s essay, camp has entered a more mainstream lexicon.

Essential notes on camp

In “Notes on ‘Camp,” Sontag writes that the “form of jottings, rather than an essay (with its claim to a linear, consecutive argument) seemed more appropriate” for discussing the “fugitive sensibility” of camp (1964, [1999]). She writes 58 notes containing descriptions, qualities, and examples of camp.

Here are some of the most essential qualities of camp, according to Sontag:

  1. “Camp is a certain mode of aestheticism. It is one way of seeing the world as an aesthetic phenomenon [...] not in terms of beauty, but in terms of the degree of artifice, of stylization” (1964, [1999]).
  2. Camp is “a quality discoverable in objects and the behavior of persons” (1964, [1999]). Sontag draws a distinction between the “Camp eye” which has “the power to transform experience” — to camp as a verb —and camp (or campy) as a quality of a song, movie, person, etc.(1964, [1999]).
  3. Camp has an affinity for the “decorative,” for “sensuous surface and style” over “content”: “All Camp objects, and persons, contain a large element of artifice. Nothing in nature can be campy” (1964, [1999]). Indeed, camp sensibility is “alive to a double sense,” a pull between artifice and meaning: “the difference [...] between the thing as meaning something, anything, and the thing as pure artifice” (1964, [1999]).
  4. Camp is often associated with bad art and kitsch, but camp is not necessarily bad art: “some art which can be approached as Camp [...] merits the most serious admiration and study” (1964, [1999]).
  5. Camp is the “triumph of the epicene style” — of mixing qualities of man and woman, person and thing (1964, [1999]). Camp blurs categorical boundaries.
  6. “Camp taste turns its back on the good–bad axis of ordinary aesthetic judgment”; rather than claiming good is bad, and bad is good, camp offers “for art (and life) a different – a supplementary – set of standards” (1964, [1999]).
  7. Camp aims to “dethrone the serious,” instead adopting a playful relationship with seriousness: “[o]ne can be serious about the frivolous, frivolous about the serious” (1964, [1999]).
  8. Camp is ultimately about enjoyment, delight, and even “love for human nature”: “It relishes, rather than judges, the little triumphs and awkward intensities of ‘character’... Camp taste identifies with what it is enjoying. People who share this sensibility are not laughing at the thing they label as ‘a camp’, they’re enjoying it” (1964, [1999]).

Camp: Queer Aesthetics and the Performing Subject: A Reader

Edited by Fabio Cleto

  1. “Camp is a certain mode of aestheticism. It is one way of seeing the world as an aesthetic phenomenon [...] not in terms of beauty, but in terms of the degree of artifice, of stylization” (1964, [1999]).
  2. Camp is “a quality discoverable in objects and the behavior of persons” (1964, [1999]). Sontag draws a distinction between the “Camp eye” which has “the power to transform experience” — to camp as a verb —and camp (or campy) as a quality of a song, movie, person, etc.(1964, [1999]).
  3. Camp has an affinity for the “decorative,” for “sensuous surface and style” over “content”: “All Camp objects, and persons, contain a large element of artifice. Nothing in nature can be campy” (1964, [1999]). Indeed, camp sensibility is “alive to a double sense,” a pull between artifice and meaning: “the difference [...] between the thing as meaning something, anything, and the thing as pure artifice” (1964, [1999]).
  4. Camp is often associated with bad art and kitsch, but camp is not necessarily bad art: “some art which can be approached as Camp [...] merits the most serious admiration and study” (1964, [1999]).
  5. Camp is the “triumph of the epicene style” — of mixing qualities of man and woman, person and thing (1964, [1999]). Camp blurs categorical boundaries.
  6. “Camp taste turns its back on the good–bad axis of ordinary aesthetic judgment”; rather than claiming good is bad, and bad is good, camp offers “for art (and life) a different – a supplementary – set of standards” (1964, [1999]).
  7. Camp aims to “dethrone the serious,” instead adopting a playful relationship with seriousness: “[o]ne can be serious about the frivolous, frivolous about the serious” (1964, [1999]).
  8. Camp is ultimately about enjoyment, delight, and even “love for human nature”: “It relishes, rather than judges, the little triumphs and awkward intensities of ‘character’... Camp taste identifies with what it is enjoying. People who share this sensibility are not laughing at the thing they label as ‘a camp’, they’re enjoying it” (1964, [1999]).
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While Sontag finds this listing format a useful style, Booth finds it a “hindrance,” leading to inconsistencies, inscrutability, and too many examples to be useful (1999).

Three creative sensibilities

For Sontag, camp is one of three “great creative sensibilities” (1964, [1999]). The first sensibility is typically associated with high culture, which values truth, beauty, and seriousness (both tragic and comic). This sensibility assumes that a successful performance fulfills the intention that lies behind it, and it tends to be moralistic.

A second sensibility is “the kind of seriousness whose trademark is anguish, cruelty, derangement” in which there is a division between intention and result (1964, [1999]). An example of this would be art that aims to overstrain its medium, introduce disunity and fragmentation, and (in so doing) reveal “another experience of what it is to be human” (1964, [1999]). This sensibility is attracted to extreme states of feelings and is often found in twentieth-century avant-garde art. While the first sensibility is intensely moralistic, this second sensibility “gains power by a tension between moral and aesthetic passion” (1964, [1999]).

Finally, camp is “the sensibility of failed seriousness, the theatricalization of experiences” and it is “wholly aesthetic”: “Camp refuses both the harmonies of traditional seriousness, and the risks of fully identifying with extreme states of feeling” (1964, [1999]).

Naïve camp and deliberate camp

Sontag divides camp into naïve (or pure) camp and deliberate camp. She finds naive camp —camp that is unaware of its campiness —to be more satisfying than deliberate attempts at camp. When something tries too hard to be campy, it fails. Sontag writes, “Camp is art that proposes itself seriously, but cannot be taken altogether seriously because it is ‘too much’” (1964, [1999]). Camp embraces a “delicate relation between parody and self-parody” and, for Sontag, the most successful camp “even when it reveals self-parody, reeks of self-love” ([1964], 1999).

Camp and queer culture

The relationship between camp and gay/lesbian/queer culture has a long history, but the precise nature of this relationship has been debated. Camp certainly has roots in the culture and attitudes of Oscar Wilde and his circle, associated with the fin de siècle’s growing gay culture as well as the aestheticism and decadence movements. Camp is also associated with the culture surrounding polari, a form of slang associated with performers and travelers adopted by the English gay community especially in the twentieth century as a means of secretly communicating.

One of the major critiques of Sontag’s “Notes on ‘Camp’” is her treatment of camp’s politics and the “peculiar relation between Camp taste and hom*osexuality” (1964, [1999]). Sontag describes camp as “disengaged, depoliticized – or at least apolitical” (1964, [1999]). While she acknowledges that “hom*osexuals have been its vanguard,” she also “feels that if hom*osexuals hadn’t more or less invented Camp, someone else would” (Sontag, 1964, [1999]). Critics of Sontag see these claims, and even the vague definition of camp as a sensibility, as contributing to the mainstreaming of camp. As Cleto writes, Sontag was

charged by gay critics with turning a basically hom*osexual mode of self-performance into a degayified taste, a simple matter of ironically relishing an indulgence in what is ‘so-bad-it’s-good’. (1999)

Camp can be understood as, in the mid-twentieth century, commodified by dominant (heteronormative) culture and by the bourgeoisie.

While critics would agree that camp is not the equivalent of queer, critics would, and do, debate how much camp should be considered a form of queer discourse or a specifically queer mode. For example, Philip Core writes in Camp: The Lie That Tells the Truth (1984),

CAMP is not necessarily hom*osexual. Anyone or anything can be camp. But it takes one to know one.

CAMP was a prison for an illegal minority, now it is a holiday for consenting adults. (excerpted in Camp, 1999)

Core seems to track this movement of camp, if not out of the margins, at least out of its confines and into a more capacious place which anyone can visit (consciously or not).

On the other hand, Moe Meyer, writing in response to AIDS activism in an introduction titled “Reclaiming the discourse of the camp,” names camp or “queer parody” as an activist strategy, and as explicitly “political and critical” (The Politics and Poetics of Camp, 1994, [2005]). Meyer firmly writes, “There are not different kinds of Camp. There is only one. And it is queer” (1994, [2005]). Meyer marks his and his contributors’ intervention into the space of defining camp:

Camp is political; Camp is solely a queer (and/or sometimes gay and lesbian) discourse; and Camp embodies a specifically queer cultural critique. Additionally, because Camp is defined as a solely queer discourse, all un-queer activities that have been previously accepted as “camp,” such as Pop culture expressions, have been redefined as examples of the appropriation of queer praxis. Because un-queer appropriations interpret Camp within the context of compulsory reproductive heterosexuality, they no longer qualify as Camp as it is defined here. In other words, the un-queer do not have access to the discourse of Camp, only to derivatives constructed through the act of appropriation. (1994, [2005])

The Politics and Poetics of Camp

Camp is political; Camp is solely a queer (and/or sometimes gay and lesbian) discourse; and Camp embodies a specifically queer cultural critique. Additionally, because Camp is defined as a solely queer discourse, all un-queer activities that have been previously accepted as “camp,” such as Pop culture expressions, have been redefined as examples of the appropriation of queer praxis. Because un-queer appropriations interpret Camp within the context of compulsory reproductive heterosexuality, they no longer qualify as Camp as it is defined here. In other words, the un-queer do not have access to the discourse of Camp, only to derivatives constructed through the act of appropriation. (1994, [2005])

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Meyer draws a hard line between camp (innately queer, political, subversive) and pop camp (appropriating and bearing the traces of camp, but watered down by the dominant heteronormative order). Meyer here inverses the hierarchy that Sontag draws: while Sontag prefers naïve over knowing camp, Meyer believes intentional camp made with queer politics in mind is the only true camp, while everything else is a residual copy.

While Cleto honors the intertwined history of “camp” and “queer,” he also takes issue with Meyer’s desire for unity and insistence on a strict practice of camp. In fact, regulating camp in such a manner actually seems to work against the subversive and slippery original aims of both “camp” and “queer.” Meyer inadvertently gives camp a “straight” referent: the hom*osexual —specifically the white male middle-class hom*osexual — becomes the producer and owner of camp. As Cleto writes,

In excluding the complex relation of camp to the phenomenology of pop and Kitsch [...], Meyer’s straightened ‘queer’ excludes one of the radical implications of the queer unsettling strategies. Camp and the postmodern in fact overlap on the issue of pop culture, which is juxtaposed in a queer canonical position to High Culture; and in such a juxtaposition one can envision a problemisation, a puzzling, of the whole social hierarchy inscribed in the very idea of ‘High Culture’. (1999)

In other words, for Cleto, in limiting the domain of camp to a strict notion of queerness, one actually undermines camp’s cultural critique.

Ultimately, camp’s politics are difficult to pin down precisely because of its desire to embrace both high and low and to subvert hierarchies. Camp is both aristocratic and democratic. Its love of excess and frivolity draws upon aristocratic aesthetics and values; Sontag writes that, “Camp taste is by its nature possible only in affluent societies, in societies or circles capable of experiencing the psychopathology of affluence” (1999). Yet, camp also embraces vulgarity, and declares that “the sensibility of high culture has no monopoly upon refinement” (Sontag, [1964], 1999). By making no distinction between the mass-produced and the bespoke object, by embracing the tackiness of kitsch and cheap excess as much as gilded palaces and the ballet, there is a subversive edge to camp that does not necessarily fit neatly into a social program.

To Sontag, “Camp is a solvent of morality. It neutralizes moral indignation, sponsors playfulness” (1999). If this is indeed the case, this explains camp’s mixed politics or how, although camp can be used for political purposes, it is not inherently political. Camp ignores the moral indignation that would look down upon the vulgar, the poor, the queer. But its aversion to sincerity and to moralizing (the goal of high culture) is also what may leave camp creations without a clear political point.

A camp case study example: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Jim Sharman, 1975) is a great example of a camp film. Camp embraces artificiality and life as theater; musical theater is thus well-suited to camp thanks to its performativity, tendency toward exaggeration, and combination of serious situations with the ridiculousness of song and dance.

Drawing upon Hollywood musicals, sci-fi, horror B movies, and glam rock (all sources or sites of camp exploration), Rocky Horror engages in a decidedly camp sensibility. The hyper normal fiancés Brad and Janet are caught in the rain on a drive and take refuge in an old castle, drawing upon melodramatic Gothic conventions, home to the alien mad scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter, who introduces himself as “a sweet transvestite” from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy Transylvania. The castle is filled with strange figures who eschew sexual taboos and eventually convince Brad and Janet to do so, too.

The characters in Rocky Horror are affected and theatrical to the point of caricature. They embody “Being-as-Playing-a-Role” (Sontag, [1964], 1999). For example, in a montage Janet plays a damsel in distress, pretending to cry and dramatically posing as she delivers her lines. As Sontag writes, “Camp is the glorification of ‘character’ [...] Character is understood as a state of continual incandescence — a person being one, very intense thing” ([1964], 1999). Many of Rocky Horror’s characters take this approach, playing one intense persona without development. This is perhaps best exemplified by Dr. Frank-N-Furter, whose exaggerated speech, movements, and makeup play into the artificiality and performance of the camp sensibility, and the appreciation camp has for exaggerated performances of gender, gender-bending, and androgyny.

Julian Cornell, writing with attention to how Rocky Horror draws on glam rock, argues that

Frank’s glam performance [...] camps both masculinity and femininity; moreover, his act denaturalizes the figure of the scientist—a paragon of masculine knowledge and power familiar to fans of horror and science fiction film. This denaturalization can be seen as analogous to the manner in which the glam performer denaturalizes the figure of the rock star. (“Rocky Horror Glam Rock,” in Reading Rocky Horror, 2008)

Reading Rocky Horror: The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Popular Culture

Edited by Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock

Frank’s glam performance [...] camps both masculinity and femininity; moreover, his act denaturalizes the figure of the scientist—a paragon of masculine knowledge and power familiar to fans of horror and science fiction film. This denaturalization can be seen as analogous to the manner in which the glam performer denaturalizes the figure of the rock star. (“Rocky Horror Glam Rock,” in Reading Rocky Horror, 2008)

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Cornell concludes that Rocky Horror’s many layers of camp reveal the fantasy of film itself. Cornell writes,

By camping so many genre film elements at the same time, Rocky Horror does not just parody the musical, the horror film, the science fiction spectacle, or the glam rock performance; it reveals an absence of normative reception that was always implicit in the way the genre film mobilized desire and exposes the cinema’s economy of desire by literalizing it. The film acknowledges [...] that Frank is a fantasy himself—a creation of the cinema, one derived from camp and glam, and an expression of the fluidity of desire that film is empowered to mobilize. (2008)

Reading Rocky Horror: The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Popular Culture

Edited by Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock

By camping so many genre film elements at the same time, Rocky Horror does not just parody the musical, the horror film, the science fiction spectacle, or the glam rock performance; it reveals an absence of normative reception that was always implicit in the way the genre film mobilized desire and exposes the cinema’s economy of desire by literalizing it. The film acknowledges [...] that Frank is a fantasy himself—a creation of the cinema, one derived from camp and glam, and an expression of the fluidity of desire that film is empowered to mobilize. (2008)

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While Rocky Horror alludes to various science fiction and horror films from the 1930s to the 1960s, the film also draws upon classic literature (most obviously Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) and “high art” like Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” (1930) and Michaelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” (c. 1508-1512). This combination of high- and low-brow sources contributes to the film’s camp aesthetic.

Ultimately, Rocky Horror and the cult following it has garnered allows us to see camp in action. Anyone who has attended a showing of Rocky Horror complete with a shadow cast and audience interactions would be reminded of Booth’s definition of camping: “to present oneself as being committed to the marginal with a commitment greater than the marginal merits” (1999). The commitment with which the fans of Rocky Horror commit themselves to their involvement with the movie echoes the (over)commitment of the film’s actors to their over-the-top performances and the film’s commitment to an aesthetic of excess.

Is Rocky Horror a high-quality film, in the conventional sense? No. But, as Sontag writes in the “ultimate Camp statement”: “it’s good because it’s awful” (1964, [1999]).

Further reading on Perlego

Hollywood Biblical Epics: Camp Spectacle and Queer Style from the Silent Era to the Modern Day (2015) by Richard Lindsay

Women, Camp, and Popular Culture: Serious Excess (2017) by Katrin Horn

The Dark Side of Camp Aesthetics: Queer Economies of Dirt, Dust and Patina (2017) edited by Ingrid Hotz-Davies, Franziska Bergmann, and Georg Vogt

Camp TV: Trans Gender Queer Sitcom History (2019) by Quinlan Miller

Queer as Camp: Essays on Summer, Style, and Sexuality (2019) edited by Kenneth B. Kidd and Derritt Mason

Fearless Vulgarity: Jacqueline Susann's Queer Comedy and Camp Authorship (2022) by Ken Feil

Camp FAQs

Bibliography

Booth, M. (1999) “Campe-Toi! On the Origins and Definitions of Camp,” in Cleto, F. (ed.) Camp. Edinburgh University Press. Available at: https://www.perlego.com/book/1708598/camp-queer-aesthetics-and-the-performing-subject-a-reader-pdf

Core, P. (1999) “From Camp: The Lie That Tells the Truth,” in Cleto, F. (ed.) Camp. Edinburgh University Press. Available at: https://www.perlego.com/book/1708598/camp-queer-aesthetics-and-the-performing-subject-a-reader-pdf

Cleto, F. (1999) Camp. Edinburgh University Press. Available at: https://www.perlego.com/book/1708598/camp-queer-aesthetics-and-the-performing-subject-a-reader-pdf

Cleto, F. (1999) “Introduction: Queering the Camp,” in Camp. Edinburgh University Press. Available at: https://www.perlego.com/book/1708598/camp-queer-aesthetics-and-the-performing-subject-a-reader-pdf

Cornell, J. (2008) “Rocky Horror Glam Rock,” in Weinstock, J. A. (ed.) Reading Rocky Horror: The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Popular Culture. Palgrave Macmillan US. Available at: https://www.perlego.com/book/3500953/reading-rocky-horror-the-rocky-horror-picture-show-and-popular-culture-pdf

Isherwood, C. (2012) The World in the Evening. Penguin.Available at: https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/411859/the-world-in-the-evening-by-christopher-isherwood/9780099561149

Isherwood, C. (1999) “From The World in the Evening,” in Cleto, F. (ed.) Camp. Edinburgh University Press. Available at: https://www.perlego.com/book/1708598/camp-queer-aesthetics-and-the-performing-subject-a-reader-pdf

Meyer, M. (2005) The Politics and Poetics of Camp. Routledge. Available at: https://www.perlego.com/book/1698137/the-politics-and-poetics-of-camp-pdf

Newton, E. (1979) Mother Camp: Female Impersonators in America. University of Chicago Press.Available at: https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/M/bo3634939.html

Shelley, M. (2012) Frankenstein. 3rd edn. Broadview Press. Available at:

https://www.perlego.com/book/2029915/frankenstein--third-edition-pdf

Sontag, S. (1999) “Notes on ‘Camp,’” in Cleto, F. (ed.) Camp. Edinburgh University Press. Available at: https://www.perlego.com/book/1708598/camp-queer-aesthetics-and-the-performing-subject-a-reader-pdf

Filmography

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) Directed by Jim Sharman. 20th Century Studios.

Paige Allen

MSt, Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies (University of Oxford)

Paige Elizabeth Allen has a Master’s degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor’s degree in English from Princeton University. Her research interests include monstrosity, the Gothic tradition, illness in literature and culture, and musical theatre. Her dissertation examined sentient haunted houses through the lenses of posthumanism and queer theory.

What is Camp? (Sontag) | Definition, Examples & Analysis (2024)

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