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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

     
American Literature: Gay Male, Post-Stonewall  
 
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Alfred Corn tries to combine the ordinary language and American subject matter of William Carlos Williams with the more refined tone and formal invention of James Merrill. A Call in the Midst of the Crowd (1978) gives a panoramic view of New York City, whereas Autobiographies (1993) gives a panorama of his life and the lives of others. The Various Light (1980) and The West Door (1988) are more delicately local assays.

Also notable are such younger poets as Henri Cole, Kenny Fries, Walter Holland, and Mark Doty.

Sponsor Message.

Conclusion

It is impossible, then, to summarize the direction of gay poetry and fiction. The healthiest sign is its present remarkable diversity, even as it comes to grips with the devastations caused by AIDS. There is no approved style or required point of view. No genius has come to top all the others.

If writers from the two coasts dominate the list, they do not crowd out the remarkable talents that appear throughout the nation. The greatest threat to gay writing seems to be the dream of the crossover bestseller, the belief that one cannot succeed as "merely" a gay writer, even though over and over again it has been the intimate connection between authors and their imagined gay audiences that has produced such penetrating, demanding, and challenging work to date.

David Bergman

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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:  AIDS Literature

In the twenty years since its first appearance in the West, AIDS has been the subject of a large body of literature, most of it written by gay men and much of it designed to expose readers as closely as possible to the emergency of the epidemic and the suffering of affected individuals.

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:  Awards

The contemporary literary awards given specifically to honor glbtq books may be seen as an outgrowth of the modern American gay rights movement, so intertwined are they with the movement for equality.

literature >> Overview:  The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance, an African-American literary movement of the 1920s and 1930s, included several important gay and lesbian writers.

literature >> Overview:  Jewish-American Literature

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

literature >> Overview:  Journalism and Publishing

The gay and lesbian press is of prime importance in sustaining a frequently embattled minority and has been crucial in the development of a national mass movement for gay rights.

literature >> Overview:  Novel: Gay Male

Since World War II, the gay male novel has progressively flourished in England and especially in America.

literature >> Overview:  Poetry: Gay Male

The gay tradition in literature from ancient times to the present is primarily a tradition not of prose but of verse.

literature >> Overview:  The Violet Quill

A circle of gay male writers in Manhattan who met a few times in 1980 and 1981, the members of the Violet Quill helped create the post-Stonewall renaissance of American gay male writing.

literature >> Overview:  The Western

A distinctive American narrative genre that has developed over more than two centuries, the Western is now consumed worldwide; characteristically depicting homosocial relationships, it is also frequently suffused with homoeroticism.

literature >> Ashbery, John

John Ashbery, one of the leading contemporary American poets, avoids explicit gay content in his poetry, but his work shares concerns with other late twentieth-century gay writing.

literature >> Baitz, Jon Robin

A leading contemporary American playwright, Jon Robin Baitz produces works that are both morally serious and politically conscious.

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 >> Bentley, Eric

An eminent professor and translator as well as a drama critic and playwright, Eric Bentley--whether writing from inside or outside the closet--has consistently supported the representation of same-sex desire in the theater.

literature >> Burroughs, William S.

Both in his life and his novels, American writer William S. Burroughs was an outlaw and a provocateur, focusing on sexual repression as the fundamental element of social control and writing in a surrealistic and bitterly satirical mode.

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 >> Cooper, Dennis

Controversial writer Dennis Cooper is best known for his series of strikingly original, critically acclaimed, albeit transgressive and contentious, novels exploring the nature of sexual obsession, alienation, brutality, and death.

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 >> Dante Alighieri

In the Divine Comedy Dante treats male homosexuality first as violence against God and then more sympathetically as merely one of the kinds of love.

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 >> Duncan, Robert

Robert Duncan wrote a remarkable series of poems that deal directly with the love of men for other men.

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 >> Ellis, Bret Easton

Perhaps the most accomplished of the "Generation X" writers, Bret Easton Ellis creates works distinguished by transgressive themes, a fascination with popular culture, and a spare but resonant prose style.

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 >> Field, Edward

Edward Field's poetry is an account of coming to terms with homosexuality in the literary world of New York in the second half of the twentieth century.

social sciences >> Gay Activists Alliance

An important organization of the early post-Stonewall era, the Gay Activists Alliance, which flourished from 1969 to 1974, strove to give gay men and lesbians visibility in American politics.

literature >> Overview:  Gay and Lesbian Bookstores

The network of independent gay and lesbian bookstores that arose in the 1970s served as incubators for the literary and cultural development of the modern gay rights movement in the United States and abroad.

literature >> Genet, Jean

Jean Genet's work has left a powerful legacy to post-modernity and remains a provocation to questions of gay identity.

literature >> Gide, André

André Gide, one of the premier French writers of the twentieth century, reflected his homosexuality in many of his numerous works.

literature >> Ginsberg, Allen

The forthrightly gay Allen Ginsberg is probably the best-known American poet to emerge in the post-World War II period.

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 >> Hartinger, Brent

Although best known as a writer of young adult fiction, Brent Hartinger is also a playwright and an activist against censorship.

literature >> Heim, Scott

Best known for his critically acclaimed debut novel Mysterious Skin (1995), Scott Heim has resisted the label "gay writer," but avows his interest in "the psychology behind the darker human impulses."

literature >> Hemingway, Ernest

Ernest Hemingway, himself sexually insecure, included negative, even abusive portrayals of gay men in his fiction.

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 >> Hine, Daryl

The Canadian-American poet Daryl Hine was a leader in giving serious homosexual poetry a place in the mainstream of American poetry.

literature >> Holleran, Andrew

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

literature >> Howard, Richard

Richard Howard's searching and witty poetry, in which homosexuality is not a problem but a solution, is a significant contribution to the gay and lesbian literary heritage.

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 >> Isherwood, Christopher

A major Anglo-American novelist and a pioneer in the gay liberation movement, Christopher Isherwood created gay characters whose homosexuality is a simple given, an integral part of the wholeness of personality and an emblem of their common humanity.

literature >> Kenan, Randall

African-American writer Randall Kenan delineates the richly nuanced internal landscapes of the diverse inhabitants of his fictional community, Tims Creek, N. C.

literature >> Kirkwood, James

Co-author of the book of the celebrated musical A Chorus Line, James Kirkwood also wrote five popular novels and two nonfiction books.

literature >> Kramer, Larry

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

literature >> Leavitt, David

Novelist and short story writer David Leavitt is one of the brightest stars of the gay literary world today.

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 >> Mann, Thomas

One of Germany's greatest twentieth-century authors, Thomas Mann encoded his own homosexuality in his novels but thought that homosexuality led to the destruction of social institutions and the death of the individual homosexual.

literature >> Manrique, Jaime

Versatile Colombian-born author Jaime Manrique has written novels, short stories, poetry, and works of nonfiction with gay themes.

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 >> McCauley, Stephen

A master of the modern comedy of manners, novelist Stephen McCauley has been praised for his shrewd observations about contemporary morals, his tart dialogue and ironic tone, and his charming, self-deprecating gay male protagonists.

literature >> McClatchy, J.D.

Poet J. D. McClatchy, Jr., a master of traditional poetic forms, most notably the sonnet and sonnet sequence, ranks as a significant voice in contemporary American letters.

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 >> Merlis, Mark

Mark Merlis is a novelist of unusual imaginative and linguistic power who examines contemporary gay concerns through the filter of historical parallels.

literature >> Merrill, James

James Merrill's significance as a gay writer lies in his deliberate use of a personal relationship to fuel his poetry.

literature >> Miller, Merle

One of the first mainstream American writers to discuss his homosexuality publicly, Merle Miller is best known for his groundbreaking book On Being Different and for his best-selling presidential biographies.

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 >> Mordden, Ethan

Best known for his four volumes of short fiction comprising a series of interconnected stories about gay life in New York City, Ethan Mordden is also the author of novels and over twenty works of nonfiction on opera, film, and musical theater.

literature >> Moss, Howard

Howard Moss, one of the leading figures of American letters in the latter half of the twentieth century, is the author of a significant body of elegant, erudite, and urbane work, especially poetry. 

literature >> O'Hara, Frank

The influential poet Frank O'Hara wrote works informed by both modern art and the world of urban gay male culture.

literature >> Palahniuk, Chuck

Chuck Palahniuk is known for a series of popular and provocative novels; although he has acknowledged his homosexuality, he resists being labeled as a "gay author."

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 >> Picano, Felice

Prolific author Felice Picano, a founding member of the Violet Quill, is also a pioneer in gay publishing, having founded two publishing houses.

literature >> Price, Reynolds

Although they do not treat gay themes at length, the poems and novels of Reynolds Price often reflect homoerotic and homosocial male relationships.

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 >> Purdy, James

James Purdy's novels often describe obsessive love between men for whom homosexuality is unthinkable and whose fate is inevitably bleak.

literature >> Rechy, John

In his novels about hustling, preeminently City of Night and Numbers, John Rechy moves from the world of homosexual behavior into the world of gay identity.

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 >> Rice, Christopher

Christopher Rice, the author of five popular, gay-themed suspense thrillers, has also been active in supporting glbtq causes, especially those affecting glbtq youth.

literature >> Rodriguez, Richard

Essayist and memoirist Richard Rodriguez, perhaps the most widely read of Latino-American authors, positions himself as an outsider in America, not only because of his ethnicity, but also because of his sexuality.

literature >> Russell, Paul

Known for his intricate narratives and eloquent prose style, novelist Paul Russell creates works that focus on the sexual and emotional complexities of gay male relationships, especially those that cross generations.

literature >> Saint, Assotto

Through his contributions to literary and popular culture, Haitian-born American poet, performance artist, musician, and editor and publisher Assotto Saint increased the visibility of black queer authors and themes during the 1980s and early 1990s.

literature >> Sanchez, Alex

Alex Sanchez's unique background as a youth and family counselor and his experiences as an immigrant have helped make him an important voice in today's young adult glbtq literature canon.

literature >> Saylor, Steven

Now best known for his highly successful mystery novels set in ancient Rome, Steven Saylor began his writing career by publishing erotica under the pen-name Aaron Travis.

literature >> Schuyler, James

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Schuyler, a prominent member of the New York School of poets and painters, wrote openly about his homosexuality.

literature >> Spicer, Jack

A brilliantly original gay writer, Jack Spicer wrote poetry noted for its lyric beauty, intellectual power, and formal invention.

literature >> Tobias, Andrew

Financial writer Andrew Tobias, the author of the classic coming out memoir The Best Little Boy in the World (1973), was elected Treasurer of the Democratic Party in 1999.

literature >> Vidal, Gore

The multifaceted Gore Vidal is important in the gay literary heritage because of the straightforwardness with which he pursued gay themes and included gay characters in his work.

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.

literature >> Whitman, Walt

Celebrating an ideal of manly love in both its spiritual and physical aspects, Walt Whitman has exerted a profound and enduring influence on gay literature.

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.

literature >> Yew, Chay

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


    Bibliography
   

Bergman, David. Gaiety Transfigured: Gay Self-Representation in American Literature. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1991.

Martin, Robert K. The Homosexual Tradition in American Poetry. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1979.

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

_____, ed. Contemporary Gay American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1992.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Bergman, David  
    Entry Title: American Literature: Gay Male, Post-Stonewall  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated August 21, 2008  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/literature/am_lit3_gay_post_stonewall.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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