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 Topic: "fairy" and "faggot" in Cather's "P

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Joined: 18 Jun 2004
Posts: 1
Interests: 19th-c American Literature, Lesbian/Gay Literature, Queer Theory
Physical Location: Massachusetts

Posted: 18 Jun 2004, 12:58 pm    Post subject: "fairy" and "faggot" in Cather's "P Reply with quote

I'm wondering about the origin of the words "fairy" and "faggot" as derogatory terms
for gay men. I'm teaching Willa Cather's "Paul's Case" and we have been discussing the possibility that Paul is gay. One of the students noted that the terms "fairy" and "faggot" appear in the text. I have never heard the terms used in connection with homosexuality in early 20th-c literature. "Gay" appears in the text, too, and I think this might be relevant as the story was published just a few years before Gertrude Stein's "Miss Furr and Miss Skeene," which almost certainly uses "gay" as a code word for homosexual. Any thoughts or references on these terms would be appreciated. Thanks. KC
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