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literature

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AIDS Literature  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  5  6  

Since 1993

With greater social attention to AIDS, with declining mortality--though not infectivity--because of new antiviral medications, and with epidemiological shifts toward other populations, the volume of gay American AIDS literature has decreased since 1993. It remains to be seen whether the spiraling of new infections among younger gay men, particularly of color, will spur a new burst in AIDS writing. Meanwhile, gays and lesbians still produce the overwhelming majority of AIDS literature, with several American highlights in this later period.

Terrence McNally's acclaimed play Love! Valour! Compassion! and Rebecca Brown's wrenching novel The Gifts of the Body, about a lesbian home health care aide's work with AIDS patients, both appeared in 1994.

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Recent achievements in poetry include the 1997 anthology Things Shaped in Passing: More "Poets for Life"; Miguel Algarin's rare portrait of HIV-positive Hispanic gay men, Love Is Hard Work (1997); and books by Rafael Campo (The Other Man Was Me [1994], What the Body Told, [1996]), Mark Doty (Atlantis [1995]), Tim Dlugos (d. 1990) (Powerless [1996]), and David Bergman (Heroic Measures [1998]).

Notable novels have recently appeared from Peter Cameron (The Weekend [1994]), Alfred Corn (Part of His Story [1997]), Allan Gurganus (Plays Well with Others [1997]), and Edmund White (The Farewell Symphony [1997], The Married Man [2000]).

Mark Doty's Heaven's Coast (1996), Fenton Johnson's Geography of the Heart (1996), and Amy Hoffman's Hospital Time (1997) have testified to the persistence of the AIDS memoir.

Newer developments include the prevalence of AIDS as a theme in gay male detective fiction, in the work of Michael Nava, R. D. Zimmerman, and John Morgan Wilson, and a greater prominence for gay and lesbian physicians in Jim Grimsley's touching novel Comfort and Joy (1999) and in the memoirs of Rafael Campo (The Poetry of Healing [1997]) and Kate Scannell (Death of the Good Doctor [1999]).

Joseph Cady

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literature >> Overview:  African-American Literature: Gay Male

The African-American gay male literary tradition consists of a substantial body of texts and includes some of the most gifted writers of the twentieth century.

literature >> Overview:  American Literature: Gay Male, Post-Stonewall

After Stonewall, gay male literature became focused as a movement, aided by the development of gay newspapers, magazines, and quarterlies and the founding of serious gay and lesbian bookstores.

literature >> Overview:  Camp

Combining elements of incongruity, theatricality, and exaggeration, camp is a form of humor that helps homosexuals cope with a hostile environment.

literature >> Overview:  Jewish-American Literature

Jewish-American gay and lesbian literature is marked by its rich heritage, diverse subject matter, and thriving vitality.

literature >> Barnett, Allen

Allen Barnett wrote stories unlikely to be surpassed for their depiction of gay life at the height of the AIDS pandemic.

literature >> Cameron, Peter

American writer Peter Cameron is renowned for his astute explorations of the shifting, impulsive emotions of his characters and for his elegant, intoxicating dialogue.

literature >> Cooper, Bernard

Award-winning writer Bernard Cooper blurs the boundaries between autobiography, essay, poetry, and fiction in his elegantly crafted works that focus on sexuality, memory, and growing up gay in the 1950s and 1960s.

literature >> Corn, Alfred

An intelligent observer and chronicler, and a master of poetic technique, Alfred Corn has been praised as one of his generation's finest poets and included in a line of gay visionary poets.

literature >> Cunningham, Michael

The acclaimed novelist Michael Cunningham examines gay culture within the context of the larger society.

literature >> Delany, Samuel R.

Writer of science fiction, memoirs, erotica, cultural studies, and postmodern criticism, and winner of multiple Nebula, Hugo, and Lambda Literary Awards, Samuel R. Delany is widely regarded as one of the finest science fiction writers of his generation.

literature >> Doty, Mark

Author of several volumes of poetry and memoirs, Mark Doty has helped bring the AIDS narrative and the experiences of gay men to a wider audience through resonant prose and a richly stylized poetic voice.

literature >> Duplechan, Larry

Lambda Award-winning author Larry Duplechan is best known for Blackbird (1987), a coming of age novel about a black teenager growing up in the bland outer suburbs of Los Angeles in the 1970s.

literature >> Feinberg, David B.

In his novels anatomizing gay life at the peak of the AIDS epidemic, David Feinberg used humor as a defense mechanism, a means to avoid madness and despair in a world that had become nightmarishly absurd.

literature >> Ferro, Robert

American novelist Robert Ferro explores homosexual integration into the traditional family.

literature >> Fierstein, Harvey

Award-winning Harvey Fierstein is one of the finest gay male playwrights currently working in the American theater.

literature >> Foucault, Michel

One of the leading philosophers of the twentieth century, Foucault has had an enormous influence on our understanding of the lesbian and gay literary heritage and the cultural forces surrounding it.

literature >> Grimsley, Jim

By the end of the twentieth century, playwright and fiction writer Jim Grimsley had firmly established himself as a central voice in an exploding, Southern, gay literary renaissance.

literature >> Guibert, Hervé

Prolific French journalist and novelist Hervé Guibert achieved fame because of his last three books, which recounted in semi-fictionalized form his struggle with the HIV virus.

literature >> Gunn, Thom

The Anglo-American writer Thom Gunn was a major gay poet and a perceptive critic of gay poetry.

literature >> Gurganus, Allan

Novelist and short story writer Allan Gurganus has been called "the most technically gifted and morally responsive writer of his generation."

literature >> Hall, Richard

In his novels and short stories, plays, and critical writings, Richard Hall focused almost exclusively on issues of gay identity and community.

literature >> Hemphill, Essex

Despite his relatively brief literary career, Essex Hemphill became arguably the most critically acclaimed and best known openly gay contemporary African-American poet.

literature >> Hoffman, William M.

Playwright, librettist, and educator William M. Hoffman is best known for his ground-breaking play As Is, one of the first theatrical works to focus on the AIDS epidemic.

literature >> Holleran, Andrew

The pseudonymous Andrew Holleran has placed his homosexuality at the center of his commercially and critically successful novels.

literature >> Indiana, Gary

The prolific and pseudonymous writer Gary Indiana may be best known for his three-novel series based on real-life crimes that explores the way victims and criminals alike are often distorted and exploited by the mass media.

literature >> Kramer, Larry

Controversial playwright, novelist, and essayist Larry Kramer has been a pioneer in the gay political response to AIDS in America.

literature >> Kushner, Tony

In addition to being a prize-winning playwright, Tony Kushner has become a celebrity spokesman for gay politics and AIDS activism.

literature >> Lucas, Craig

Craig Lucas, a leading contemporary American playwright, integrates high-spirited, kaleidoscopic storytelling with provocative explorations of love in all its varieties.

literature >> Mars-Jones, Adam

Author and editor Adam Mars-Jones has written short stories as well as longer fiction on gay themes, including AIDS.

literature >> Maupin, Armistead

A sharp social critic, novelist Armistead Maupin places his gay characters within a large framework of humanity, creating a social history of San Francisco during the tumultuous decades of the 1970s and 1980s.

literature >> McGehee, Peter

American-Canadian novelist Peter McGehee is best remembered for his deft negotiation of the AIDS pandemic through the genre of screwball comedy.

literature >> McNally, Terrence

Texas-reared Terrence McNally, whose first play, And Things That Go Bump in the Night, was one of the great scandals of the 1964 New York season, emerged in the 1990s as America's most important gay playwright since Tennessee Williams.

literature >> Monette, Paul

In novels, poetry, and a memoir, Paul Monette wrote about gay men striving to fashion personal identities and, later, coping with the loss of a lover to AIDS.

literature >> Nava, Michael

Mystery writer Michael Nava has increasingly been recognized as an important novelist whose mature work transcends the limited expectations of a popular and highly specialized genre.

literature >> Peck, Dale

Novelist, short story writer, and critic Dale Peck has been praised as "one of the most eloquent voices of his generation" and has been self-described as "the most hated man in literature."

literature >> Preston, John

One of the most prolific gay writers of recent decades, John Preston helped elevate pornographic fiction into a genre viewed as having literary merit.

literature >> Reed, Paul

By writing the earliest novel to respond directly to AIDS and subsequently producing innovative journal and sex writing, American author Paul Reed made several significant contributions to glbtq literature.

literature >> Rich, Adrienne

Adrienne Rich, who aestheticized politics and politicized aesthetics, is America's most widely read lesbian poet.

arts >> Rudnick, Paul

Out American playwright, novelist, and screenwriter Paul Rudnick brings a gently subversive wit to all of his projects.

literature >> Schulman, Sarah

Author and playwright Sarah Schulman is concerned with constructing a lesbian identity around and against the multicultural identities of New York.

literature >> Shilts, Randy

Randy Shilts pioneered as an openly gay journalist in the 1970s and 1980s and was an astute interpreter of the various issues affecting American gay men and lesbians.

literature >> Spanbauer, Tom

Novelist Tom Spanbauer probes the darker undercurrents of sexuality, race, and violence while simultaneously using his unique prose style to meditate on and question received notions of time, subjectivity, and history.

literature >> Tondelli, Pier Vittorio

Although Pier Vittorio Tondelli occupies a central position within the Italian literary canon, the theme of homosexuality in his work has been ignored or minimized by his critics.

literature >> Vogel, Paula

In her work, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel has tackled difficult topics, including AIDS, incest, and prostitution.

literature >> White, Edmund

One of the most prominent and highly acclaimed figures of contemporary gay literature, Edmund White works in many distinct categories of fiction and nonfiction.

social sciences >> Wilson, Douglas

Canadian human rights activist Douglas Wilson is also remembered as the life partner of American-Canadian writer/performer Peter McGehee; together they married activism with art and entertainment.

literature >> Wilson, John Morgan

John Morgan Wilson is best known today as the author of a gay male mystery series featuring a flawed and often exasperating amateur detective named Benjamin Justice.

arts >> Wojnarowicz, David

The first gay American artist to respond to the AIDS crisis with anger and moral outrage, David Wojnarowicz used his art as a polemical tool with which to indict those he held responsible for the AIDS epidemic and to document his own suffering.

literature >> Yew, Chay

Critically acclaimed Asian-American playwright Chay Yew has consistently produced provocative drama addressing issues of racism, homophobia, and censorship.


    Bibliography
   

Crimp, Douglas, ed. AIDS: Cultural Analysis/Cultural Activism. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1988.

Miller, James, ed. Fluid Exchanges: Artists and Critics in the AIDS Crisis. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992.

Murphy, Timothy F., and Suzanne Poirier, eds. Writing AIDS: Gay Literature, Language, and Analysis. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.

Nelson, Emmanuel S., ed. AIDS: The Literary Response. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1992.

Pastore, Judith Laurence, ed. Confronting AIDS through Literature: The Responsibilities of Representation. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993.

Román, David. Acts of Intervention: Performance, Gay Culture, and AIDS. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Cady, Joseph  
    Entry Title: AIDS Literature  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated November 4, 2007  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/literature/aids_lit.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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