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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

     
French Literature: Twentieth Century  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  5  

Daniel Guérin and Gay Liberation

Among gay male writers, an important post-war presence has been that of Daniel Guérin (1904-1988). Although he wrote in the inter-war years, too, it was in the post-World War II period that he became openly involved in gay liberation. His autobiographical writings include Autobiographie de jeunesse (1965), Le feu du sang: autobiographie politique et charnelle (1977), and Son testament (1979).

His writings touch on, among other things, the class inflections of gay politics. He illustrates the problem of the rift between the gay liberation movement and the feminist movement in France. On the one hand, he was sensitive to the effects of Islamic fundamentalism on Arab women, but on the other, he could not understand the importance of rape as a feminist issue, seeing it merely as a problem of bourgeois repression.

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AIDS Literature

Not surprisingly, given the spread of the epidemic, AIDS has become an important subject of recent gay literature in France, especially among men.

Among the writers who have treated this theme is Hervé Guibert (1955-1991), best known for A l'ami qui ne m'a pas sauvé la vie ([1990]; trans. as To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life, 1991).

In this autobiographical account of his battle with AIDS, Guibert uses a loose, diarylike format to describe his denial, diagnosis, and treatment. The novel also includes an account of the death of Michel Foucault (Guibert's friend, here represented under the pseudonym Muzil), which anticipates the course of the narrator's own illness.

The narrator learns about a possible vaccine and anxiously charts his T-cell count as it slowly drops toward the level where he would no longer be eligible to take part in the French trial of the vaccine, a role promised him by an influential friend, Bill.

But any sense of optimism fades as he learns that the miracle vaccine is not performing as well as anticipated in the United States and that the cure on which he had pinned his hopes will not materialize, not the least because he is abandoned by Bill (hence the novel's title).

Hervé Guibert's other books include La mort propagande, Des aveugles, Mes parents, L'image fantôme, and Le protocole compassionnel.

AIDS is also the theme of Cyril Collard's novel Les nuits fauves (1989), recently translated and made into a prize-winning film. Collard also died of AIDS, in 1993.

Conclusion

This overview of twentieth-century gay and lesbian French literature has attempted to show something of the background that produced the major figures discussed elsewhere.

It is far from being an exhaustive account, omitting, for example, such writers as Renaud Camus, Eric Jourdan, Yves Navarre, and Michel Tournier, to name but a few who have also contributed to the twentieth-century French gay and lesbian literary tradition. But the very impossibility of offering a complete survey itself testifies to the richness of this tradition.

Melanie Hawthorne

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   Related Entries
  
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literature >> Gide, André

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    Bibliography
   

Aldrich, Robert. "Homosexuality in France." Contemporary French Civilization (1982): 1-19.

Copley, Anthony. Sexual Moralities in France, 1780-1980: New Ideas on the Family, Divorce and Homosexuality. New York: Routledge, 1989.

Foster, Jeannette H. Sex Variant Women in Literature. 1956; rpt. Tallahassee, Fla.: Naiad, 1985.

Huas, Jeanine. L'homosexualité au temps de Proust. Dinard: Editions Danclau, 1992.

Povert, Lionel. Dictionnaire gay. Paris: Jacques Grancher, 1994.

Robinson, Christopher. Scandal in the Ink: Male and Female Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century French Literature. London: Cassell, 1995.

Schehr, Lawrence, ed. "Discourses and Sex." Contemporary French Civilization 16.2 (Summer-Fall 1992).

_____. The Shock of Men: Homosexual Hermeneutics in French Writing. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995.

Shaw, Nannette. "Jocelyn François: An Introduction." 13th Moon 8.1-2 (1984): 39-49.

Stambolian, George, and Elaine Marks, ed. Homosexualities and French Literature: Cultural Contexts/Critical Texts. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell, 1979.

Van Casselaer, Catherine. Lot's Wife: Lesbian Paris, 1890-1914. Liverpool: Janus Press, 1986.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Hawthorne, Melanie  
    Entry Title: French Literature: Twentieth Century  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated September 19, 2005  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/literature/french_lit3_20c.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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