glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
social sciences
special features
about glbtq


   member name
   Forgot Your Password?  
Not a Member Yet?  

  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy






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

Subjects:  A-B  C-E  F-L  M-Z

Ellis, Bret Easton (b. 1964)  
page: 1  2  3  4  

Ellis's use of violence has also escalated. However, with Victor's capturers bombing European public transportation hubs, the violence has taken on a wider philosophical and perhaps even prescient aspect.

Glamorama is also marked by wit, humor, and satire. Indeed, Ellis uses his skill with humorous dialogue and maxims to make apparent his moral point of view.

For example, Victor's outlook on life is stated in maxim-like dialogue, as when he remarks, "The better you look, baby, the more you see" and "being semi-famous is in itself difficult." His girlfriend Chloe's retorts are similarly aphoristic: "Everything you know is wrong" and "A mirror's your ideal mate."

Although the major characters are not easily identified with real people, famous people make cameo appearances in Glamorama. Since Ellis himself is a "celebrity author" known for the company he keeps, Glamorama might be regarded as the author's betrayal of his own celebrity world. It remains an underrated novel, but it has recently gained critical appreciation.

Lunar Park

Lunar Park (2005) is Ellis's most personal and most playful work. Bret Easton Ellis, a middle-aged writer, narrates it, but his word can no more be relied upon than Patrick Bateman's in American Psycho or Victor's in Glamorama.

Ellis, the character in Lunar Park, lives in a wealthy suburb where children's behavior is controlled by psychiatric drugs in a fashion similar to the way wives are controlled by technology in Ira Levin's suburban gothic The Stepford Wives. Ellis has married Jane, a model turned actress, largely because they had a son together, a fact that she has only recently brought to his attention. In addition, Ellis is being haunted by the ghost of his dead father, who may also manifest himself as Patrick Bateman and other horrific creatures. Ellis may, however, simply be deluded because of his prodigious drug and alcohol intake or because he is solipsistic in the extreme.

Ellis the author may imagine himself married with children in Lunar Park in order to explore once again his familiar theme of the fractured family. Ellis, the character in Lunar Park, disrupts his family so greatly that his wife and children eventually reject him. Only then does he realize, "I needed to be in that house. I needed to be a participant. I needed to be grounded in the life of the family that lived there."

In musing about the son Robby, Ellis the character observes, "[I]t bothered me that so little of his life revolved around poetry or romance. Everything was grounded in the dull and anxious day-to-day. Everything was a performance." Ellis the author could as easily be writing about his real or his imagined father, himself, or a future imagined self.


An indiscriminate purveyor of culture, Ellis mines high as well as popular culture. Moreover, he places his work within various literary traditions: Less Than Zero recalls J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye; much of The Rules of Attraction and The Informers is written in epistolary or diaristic form; The Informers is an homage to Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio; entire chapters of American Psycho are mock album reviews, while others appropriate the language and tropes of advertising and pornography; Glamorama is a picaresque; Lunar Park refers meaningfully to Hamlet.

Ellis's use of language is especially skillful. Julian Murphet, in his excellent American Psycho: A Reader's Guide, makes much of Ellis's stylistic use of parataxis (the refusal of the prose to form complex sentences) and reification (the transformation of relationships between human beings into relationships between things).

What Murphet and others do not say is that Ellis also incorporates the language of advertising for its sounds (like the crisp sound "silk-crepe ties" makes when read aloud), the way a poet appropriates language. Ellis has said that he is an avid reader of poetry, an influence apparent in his trademark, long passages of dialogue that are heavily reliant on poetic rhythm.

Put another way, Ellis is at once a minimalist and a stylist. He emulates both the spareness of Hemingway and Joan Didion, on the one hand, and the more poetic, mannered style of Truman Capote and the New Journalists, on the other.

Ellis is far more of a satirist than, say, Edmund White or Andrew Holleran, but like those gay authors he relies on semi-autobiographical subject matter. As AIDS, death, and grief figure in their work, so they do in Ellis's as well. The word AIDS appears three times in the first three pages of American Psycho, and, later, in a graphic sex scene, Bateman and a woman negotiate the proper use of a condom.

Ellis also bears comparison to transgressive queer authors such as Jean Genet, William Burroughs, James Purdy, and Dennis Cooper in his use of pastiche, fantasy, and hallucinatory narratives.

  <previous page   page: 1  2  3  4   next page>  
Contact Us
Join the Discussion
Related Entries
More Entries by this contributor
A Bibliography on this Topic

Citation Information
More Entries about Literature
Popular Topics:

Social Sciences

Stonewall Riots
Stonewall Riots

Gay Liberation Front

The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980
The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980

Leather Culture

Anthony, Susan B.
Anthony, Susan B.

Africa: Sub-Saharan, Pre-Independence



Computers, the Internet, and New Media





This Entry Copyright © 2006 glbtq, Inc. is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.