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literature

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-B  C-E  F-L  M-Z

     
Aestheticism  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  

A good deal of the opposition deployed against homosexual aestheticism in the post-1890s epoch originated with homosexual artists themselves; E. M. Forster's stinging portrayal of Cecil Vyse in his 1908 Room with a View (a portrait based on Pater) and Willa Cather's poignant depiction of a doomed adolescent aesthete in her 1905 story "Paul's Case" (possibly composed of her ambivalence concerning the Wilde trials) intimated that homosexual aestheticism was a callow retreat from a full engagement with life, however understandable the aestheticist impulse was as a reaction to a culture.

But if aestheticism as a cultural force has waned, the movement's appeal for so many homosexually identified men at the turn of the century has survived in our own time in the received wisdom that homosexuality and thoroughgoing artistic accomplishment are inseparably entwined.

Sponsor Message.

Richard Kaye

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   Related Entries
  
literature >> Overview:  American Literature: Gay Male, 1900-1969

Although largely invisible to the general public, a large body of twentieth-century gay male literature by American authors was published prior to Stonewall, some of it positive but most of it tinged with misery or bleakness as the price of being published and disseminated.

literature >> Overview:  American Literature: Nineteenth Century

Although sometimes coded as romantic friendship, both gay male and lesbian attractions are reflected in nineteenth-century American poetry and fiction, including works by such major figures as Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, and Emily Dickinson.

literature >> Overview:  Bloomsbury

The Bloomsbury circle's open acceptance of erotic license and hostility toward social convention are important elements in the history of homosexuality among the English upper classes in the first half of the twentieth century.

literature >> Overview:  Decadence

Nineteenth-century Decadent literature either describes aspects of decadent life and society or reflects the decadent literary aesthetic.

literature >> Overview:  English Literature: Nineteenth Century

From its beginning, the nineteenth century in England had a purposeful homosexual literature of considerable bulk, both male and female, though it was fettered by oppression.

literature >> Overview:  English Literature: Twentieth-Century

Homosexuality, both male and female, has a rich, divergent, and increasingly open expression in the literature of the twentieth century.

literature >> Overview:  French Literature: Nineteenth Century

In the nineteenth century gay and lesbian sexuality becomes a significant subject in French literature.

literature >> Overview:  French Literature: Twentieth Century

The contributions of gay men and lesbians to twentieth-century French literature have been closely intertwined with the course of mainstream literature.

social sciences >> Overview:  United Kingdom I: The Middle Ages through the Nineteenth Century

The United Kingdom has a rich and vibrant legacy of queer cultural expression despite a long history of severe legal sanctions against male-male sexual acts and other manifestations of sexual and gender deviance.

literature >> Baudelaire, Charles

Baudelaire was among the first French poets to include lesbians as subjects.

literature >> Cather, Willa

One of America's premier literary artists in the earlier twentieth century, Willa Cather reflected her own lesbianism in the creation of strong women characters and in the exploration of male homosexuality.

literature >> Cocteau, Jean

An outspoken homosexual, Jean Cocteau was a prolific poet, novelist, critic, essayist, artist, and filmmaker.

literature >> Eliot, T[homas] S[tearns]

Although Eliot tried to suppress the fact, The Waste Land is an elegy for a young Frenchman whom he met and loved in Paris and who died in the Great War in 1915.

literature >> Forster, E. M.

One of the finest English novelists of the twentieth century and a tireless defender of humane values, Forster deserves a special place in the gay and lesbian literary heritage.

literature >> Huysmans, Joris-Karl

J. K. Huysmans, an important figure in the Aesthetic and Decadent movements, exemplified a style of homosexuality at a pivotal moment in the emergence of a gay identity.

arts >> Overview:  Interior Design

The career of interior design has been stereotyped as gay; although this stereotype often invites ridicule, it stems from a cultural perception that gay men may have special skills in the area of artistic design and fashion trends.

literature >> James, Henry

Though closeted, Henry James had a number of intimate relations with young men, and his sexual orientation imbued his fiction.

literature >> Montesquiou-Fezensac, Count Robert de

Count Robert de Montesquiou was a writer during France's Belle Epoque, but he is best remembered as a dandy and an aesthete, who inspired the literary creations of others.

literature >> Pater, Walter

The aesthetic of the important and influential Victorian critic Walter Pater reflected a homosexual sensibility.

literature >> Proust, Marcel

Marcel Proust is the author of A la recherche du temps perdu, one of the major achievements of Modernism and a great gay novel.

literature >> Rimbaud, Arthur

Because his writing stresses liberation, the French "boy-poet" Arthur Rimbaud, whose art is based solely on his individual creativity, is a progenitor of modern gay poetics.

social sciences >> Santos-Dumont, Alberto

The achievement of Alberto Santos-Dumont, the Brazilian dandy who is regarded by many as the father of modern aviation, may have been minimized in some circles because he was likely homosexual.

literature >> Sappho

Admired through the ages as one of the greatest lyric poets, the ancient Greek writer Sappho is today esteemed by lesbians around the world as the archetypal lesbian and their symbolic mother.

literature >> Swinburne, Algernon Charles

Algernon Charles Swinburne was interested in flagellation, sadomasochism, bisexuality, and lesbianism, not only for their erotics but also as gestures of social and cultural rebellion.

literature >> Symonds, John Addington

John Addington Symonds was the most daring innovator in the history of nineteenth-century British homosexual writing and consciousness.

literature >> Verlaine, Paul

The poetry of Paul Verlaine celebrates both heterosexual and homosexual activity, including lesbian relationships.

literature >> Wilde, Oscar

Oscar Wilde is important both as an accomplished writer and as a symbolic figure who exemplified a way of being homosexual at a pivotal moment in the emergence of gay consciousness.


    Bibliography
   

Dellamora, Richard. Masculine Desire: The Sexual Politics of Victorian Aestheticism. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990.

Dowling, Linda. Language and Decadence in the Victorian Fin de Siècle. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986.

Ellman, Richard. Oscar Wilde. New York: Random House, 1986.

Showalter, Elaine. Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siècle. New York: Viking Press, 1991.

Stevenson, Lionel. The Pre-Raphaelite Poets. New York: W.W. Norton, 1974.

Summers, Claude. Gay Fictions: Wilde to Stonewall. New York: Continuum, 1990.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Kaye, Richard  
    Entry Title: Aestheticism  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated October 17, 2006  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/literature/aestheticism.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates  
 

 

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