Why is shame so central to our identity and to our culture? What is its role in stigmatizing subcultures such as the Irish, the queer or the underclass? Can shame be understood as a productive force? In this lucid and passionately argued book, Sally R. Munt explores the vicissitudes of shame across a range of texts, cultural milieux, historical locations and geographical spaces - from eighteenth-century Irish politics to Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, from contemporary US academia to the aesthetics of Tracey Emin. She finds that the dynamics of shame are consistent across cultures and historical periods, and that patterns of shame are disturbingly long-lived. But she also reveals shame as an affective emotion, engendering attachments between bodies and between subjects - queer attachments. Above all, she celebrates the extraordinary human ability to turn shame into joy: the party after the fall. Queer Attachments is an interdisciplinary synthesis of cultural politics, emotions theory and narrative that challenges us to think about the queerly creative proclivities of shame.