German and Austrian Literature
Editor, photographer, and activist, Adolf Brand was the leader of a faction of the early German homosexual emancipation movement whose cultural views were expressed in Der Eigene (The Self-Owner), the first homosexual literary and artistic journal.
Germany's most celebrated and influential dramatist of the twentieth century, Brecht depicted homosexual desire in his early writings, where it is cloaked in ambiguity and tied to issues of power.
Novelist Hubert Fichte was the first author to introduce homosexuality openly into German literature after World War II.
Stefan George, one of the foremost German poets of the turn of the twentieth century, encoded his homosexuality in his works.
The treatment of homosexuality in German and Austrian literature was largely negative until the eighteenth century, when the basis was laid for the development of a more positive attitude.
With major periodic setbacks, over the last two centuries German-speaking authors have gradually developed a gay and lesbian positive literature.
Nineteenth-century Swiss milliner and anthologist Heinrich Hössli was a passionate apologist for homosexuality, but his work exerted almost no influence.
The plays and novellas of the bisexual Heinrich von Kleist explore societal ramifications of transgressive sexuality and frequently yoke illicit sex and death.
The Scottish-German John Henry Mackay, who wrote in German, dedicated himself to the cause of gaining sympathetic recognition of man-boy love.
Klaus Mann's vision of homosexuality is marked by loneliness and alienation, and his fiction is characterized by melancholic hopelessness.
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.
Swiss actor, cabaret performer, and stage director Karl Meier was, under the pseudonym "Rolf," editor of Der Kreis, the leading European homophile publication, from 1943 until its demise in 1967.
Despite the widespread homophobia in the Modernist movement, several of its practitioners were homosexual; some of them wrote openly about homosexuality, and the groundwork was laid for the gay liberation movement.
Before Stonewall, censorship of the theater caused authors to encode homosexual content in publicly-presented plays.
The poems of Count August von Platen are homoerotic expressions of Platonic love, idealism, beauty, friendship, and longing.
The gay tradition in literature from ancient times to the present is primarily a tradition not of prose but of verse.
Chronicler of Berlin's lesbian club scene of the late 1920s, writer Ruth Roellig was part of the lively gay counterculture of Germany's Weimar era.
Swiss writer and photojournalist Annemarie Schwarzenbach documented social conditions from Afghanistan to Alabama; her fiction reflected the tormented attachments and recurring loneliness that plagued her short lifetime.
Activist and editor Anna Vock pioneered in organizing lesbians and gay men in Switzerland in the 1930s.
Bruno Vogel's experiences as a soldier during World War I and as a homosexual in a society hostile to any open expression of same-sex love shaped his political and aesthetic vision.
Anna Elisabet Weirauch is best remembered for her three-volume lesbian novel Der Skorpion (The Scorpion) set during the Weimar Republic.
The art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann, the first German to have been publicly acknowledged as a homosexual, developed an aesthetic deeply rooted in his homosexuality.
The German novelist, dramatist, and screenwriter Christa Winsloe reflected her lesbianism in works that treat sexual identity within societies stratified according to gender roles.