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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

     
Bisexual Literature  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  5  

But at the very least, the discourse on sexuality has rewidened since the mid-twentieth century so that validation for bisexuals is no longer impossible to locate in literature and social movements. Conceptualizations in the 1990s of a broad notion of a "queer" identity, one that embraces gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered individuals, and even transgressive heterosexuals, have been welcomed by many in the subsumed communities, even as others have resisted any revision in the narrower, binarized notions of identity that have proved to be politically efficacious in the past.

But simplistic designations of all human beings as fundamentally heterosexual or homosexual are clearly as oppressive toward some people as institutionalized homophobia has been toward gays and lesbians. Whether or not bisexuality is a natural state for all women and men, it is certainly so for some, as history and literature repeatedly bears out.

Sponsor Message.

And in recognizing the unique interests of the bisexual community, as well as the numerous ways such interests intersect with those of the gay and lesbian communities, we can come to a better understanding of social history and the rich heritage of literary traditions and representations that counter heterosexism and challenge the narrow, tradition-bound, and oppressive categories through which society identifies and thereby judges people.

Donald E. Hall

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literature >> Overview:  African-American Literature: Lesbian

Most African-American lesbian literature is as concerned with racism as it is with sexuality, causing many writers to construct Afrocentric sexual identities that affirm the power of black women.

social sciences >> Overview:  Bisexuality

Although until recently rejected by most sexologists as a distinct sexual identity, bisexuality is gradually becoming recognized and studied as such.

social sciences >> Overview:  Bisexual Movements

Although bisexuals have played an important part in the glbt movement for equality, they often had to hide their bisexuality; more recently, however, the bisexual movement has been accepted as part of the larger glbt movement and bisexual organizations now flourish.

literature >> Overview:  Erotica and Pornography

Erotic and pornographic works have been written in many cultures since ancient times and recently have flourished with the relaxation of censorship.

literature >> Overview:  Greek Literature: Ancient

Ancient Greece holds a unique place in the heritage of homosexual literature as it was a society that openly celebrated same-sex love in its poetry and prose.

literature >> Overview:  Identity

Although the question of homosexual identity is a complex one, it has polarized activists, theorists, and literary critics into two primary camps, essentialists and constructionists, both of which can contribute usefully to an understanding of the gay and lesbian literary heritage.

literature >> Overview:  Roman Literature

Roman writers on homosexual or bisexual themes generally followed Greek models; but unlike the Greeks, Romans condoned sex with slaves.

literature >> Baldwin, James Arthur

James Baldwin, a pioneering figure in twentieth-century literature, wrote sustained and articulate challenges to American racism and mandatory heterosexuality.

social sciences >> BiNet USA

BiNet USA is the oldest national bisexual advocacy organization in the United States, attempting to serve as a voice of bisexual and pansexual people.

literature >> Bowles, Paul

Gay American expatriate composer, writer, and translator Paul Bowles liked to examine sexuality from a dispassionate perspective for its psychological suggestiveness.

literature >> Byron, George Gordon, Lord

The bisexual Lord Byron treated many of his homosexual love affairs in his poetry, encoding them by the use of classical references or by purporting that they were affairs with women.

literature >> Carpenter, Edward

Edward Carpenter, a champion of both women's and homosexuals' liberation, was one of the great socialist visionaries of England at the turn of the twentieth century.

literature >> Catullus

The Roman poet Catullus incorporated homoerotic themes in his verse, both reflecting the passionate character of same-sex friendships and describing several of his own homosexual adventures.

literature >> Cixous, Hélène

French feminist theorist and novelist Hélène Cixous celebrates female homoeroticism and feminist solidarity.

literature >> Colette

One of France's most beloved authors, Colette wrote novels with strong lesbian subtexts.

literature >> Dickinson, Emily

Emily Dickinson's poems and letters to her sister-in-law Susan are both passionate and elusive in their homoeroticism.

literature >> Doolittle, Hilda

The bisexual poet and novelist Hilda Doolittle, who published under the initials H. D., wrote poems and autobiographical prose works that celebrate women's romantic relationships with each other.

social sciences >> Ellis, Havelock

Henry Havelock Ellis--British psychologist and writer--was one of the first modern thinkers to challenge Victorian taboos against the frank and objective discussion of sex.

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 >> 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.

social sciences >> Freud, Sigmund

The founder of psychoanalysis and the discoverer of the unconscious, Sigmund Freud initiated a fundamental transformation in the self-understanding of Western men and women, including especially the role of sexuality.

literature >> Hall, Radclyffe

Radclyffe Hall, who lived her lesbianism openly and proudly, is best known for The Well of Loneliness, arguably the most important lesbian novel ever written.

social sciences >> Krafft-Ebing, Richard von

The carefully detailed case studies of nineteenth-century psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing shed light on the sexual habits of a wide spectrum of men and women.

literature >> Lawrence, D. H.

For his time, D. H. Lawrence was a maverick in his open and adventurous discussion of all sexual issues and especially homosexuality, both male and female.

literature >> Leavitt, David

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

literature >> Le Guin, Ursula K.

Although Ursula Le Guin does not address homosexual issues directly, she includes homosexuals as minor characters in works that cause readers to reexamine their assumptions about sex roles and stereotypes.

literature >> Marlowe, Christopher

Christopher Marlowe represents homoerotic situations and incidents in his plays and poems more frequently and more variously that any other major English Renaissance writer.

literature >> Michelangelo Buonarroti

Best known for his genius in art and architecture, Michelangelo was also an accomplished author of homoerotic poetry.

literature >> Petronius

Petronius' Satyricon is both the best evidence for homosexual behavior at the height of the Roman Empire and one of the most bumptious homoerotic picaresque narratives ever written.

literature >> Philips, Katherine

Two-thirds of the poems of Katherine Philips, "The Matchless Orinda," concern erotic relationships among women.

literature >> Plutarch

No ancient is more instructive about pederasty than the Greek biographer and essayist Plutarch.

literature >> Sapphire (Ramona Lofton)

Bisexual African-American novelist, poet, and performance artist Sapphire came to public attention with works that focus on the harrowing realities of inner city existence.

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 >> Shakespeare, William

As one of the key figures that western civilization has used to define itself, William Shakespeare stands in a complicated, fiercely contested relationship to homosexuality.

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 >> Verlaine, Paul

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

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 >> Walker, Alice

In her explorations of the damage done to the individual self by racism and sexism, Alice Walker views lesbianism as natural and freeing, an aid to self-knowledge and self-love.

literature >> Waugh, Evelyn

Evelyn Waugh, who had homosexual affairs while at Oxford but later led a heterosexual life, treated homosexuals both nostalgically and contemptuously in his novels.

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 >> Woolf, Virginia

Passionate friendships with women were essential to the life and work of novelist Virginia Woolf.


    Bibliography
   

Bode, Janet. View from Another Closet: Exploring Bisexuality in Women. New York: Hawthorn, 1976.

Boswell, John. Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980.

Cantarella, Eva. Bisexuality in the Ancient World. Trans. Cormac O'Cuilleanain. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992.

Cixous, Hélène and Catherine Clement. The New Born Woman. Trans. Betsy Wing. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986.

Crompton, Louis. Byron and Greek Love. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.

Evans, David. Sexual Citizenship: The Material Construction of Sexualities. London: Routledge, 1993.

Faderman, Lillian. Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love between Women from the Renaissance to the Present. New York: Morrow, 1981.

Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality. Vol. I. Trans. Robert Hurley. New York: Random, 1978.

Freud, Sigmund. Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. 1905. Trans. James Strachey. New York: Basic, 1962.

Garber, Marjorie. Vice Versa: Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995.

Gay, Peter. The Tender Passion. Vol. II of The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Geller, Thomas, ed. Bisexuality: A Reader and Sourcebook. Ojai, Calif.: Times Change Press, 1990.

Greenberg, David E. The Construction of Homosexuality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.

Hall, Donald E., and Maria Pramaggiore, eds. Representing Bisexualities: Subjects and Cultures. New York: New York University Press, 1996.

Hutchins, Loraine and Lani Kaahumanu, eds. Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out. Boston: Alyson, 1991.

Klein, Fred. The Bisexual Option. New York: Arbor House, 1978.

Laqueur, Thomas. Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1990.

Lottman, Herbert. Colette: A Life. Boston: Little, Brown, 1991.

Millett, Kate. Flying. New York: Knopf, 1974.

Paglia, Camille. Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson. New York: Vintage, 1991.

Weise, Elizabeth, ed. Closer to Home: Bisexuality and Feminism. Seattle: Seal Press, 1992.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Hall, Donald E.  
    Entry Title: Bisexual 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 December 29, 2004  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/literature/bisex_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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