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In this provocative study, Dana Cairns Watson traces Gertrude Stein’s growing fascination with the cognitive and political ramifications of conversation and how that interest influenced her writing over the course of her career. No book in recent decades has illuminated so many of Stein’s works so extensively—from the early fiction of The Making of Americans to the poetry of Tender Buttons to her opera libretto The Mother of Us All. Seeking to sustain Stein’s lively, pleasant, populist spirit, Watson shows how the writer’s playful entanglement of sight and sound—of silent reading and social speaking—reveals the crucial ambiguity by which reading and conversation build communities of meaning, and thus form not only personal relationships but also our very selves and the larger political structures we inhabit. Stein reminds us that the residual properties of words and the implications behind the give-and-take of ordinary conversation offer alternatives to linear structures of social order, alternatives especially precious in times of political oppression. For example, her novels Mrs. Reynolds and Brewsie and Willie, both written in embattled Vichy France, contemplate the speech patterns of totalitarian leaders and the ways in which everyday discourse might capitulate to—or resist—such verbal tyranny. Like recent theorists, Stein recognized the repressiveness of conventional order—carried in language and thus in thought and social organization—but as Cairns Watson persuasively shows, she also insisted that the free will of individuals can persist in language and enable change. In the play of literary aesthetics, Stein saw a liberating force.
Postmodern Lesbian Politics
Vol. 5, no. 3 (1999); Vol. 6 (2000) through current issue
Providing a much-needed forum for interdisciplinary discussion, GLQ publishes scholarship, criticism, and commentary in areas as diverse as law, science studies, religion, political science, and literary studies. Its aim is to offer queer perspectives on all issues touching on sex and sexuality. In an effort to achieve the widest possible historical, geographic, and cultural scope, GLQ particularly seeks out new research into historical periods before the twentieth century, into non-Anglophone cultures, and into the experience of those who have been marginalized by race, ethnicity, age, social class, body morphology, or sexual practice. A notable feature is "The GLQ Archive," a special section featuring previously unpublished or unavailable primary materials that may serve as sources for future work in lesbian and gay studies.
The Rhetorics of Religious Violence
2007 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
At the funeral of Matthew Shepard—the young Wyoming man brutally murdered for being gay—the Reverend Fred Phelps led his parishioners in protest, displaying signs with slogans like “Matt Shepard rots in Hell,” “Fags Die God Laughs,” and “God Hates Fags.” In counter-protest, activists launched an “angel action,” dressing in angel costumes, with seven-foot high wings, and creating a visible barrier so one would not have to see the hateful signs.
Though long thought of as one of the most virulently anti-gay genres of contemporary American politics and culture, in God Hates Fags, Michael Cobb maintains that religious discourses have curiously figured as the most potent and pervasive forms of queer expression and activism throughout the twentieth century. Cobb focuses on how queers have assumed religious rhetoric strategically to respond to the violence done against them, alternating close readings of writings by James Baldwin, Tennessee Williams, Jean Toomer, Dorothy Allison, and Stephen Crane with critical legal and political analyses of Supreme Court Cases and anti-gay legislation. He also pays deep attention to the political strategies, public declarations, websites, interviews, and other media made by key religious right organizations that have mounted the most successful regulations and condemnations of homosexuality.
Last Journals, 1956–1984
Charm, wit, compassion, wisdom, literature, nature, sex, humor, politics, sorrow, love: these themes fill the late journal pages of enigmatic American writer Glenway Wescott. From humble beginnings on a poor Wisconsin farm, Wescott went on to study at the University of Chicago, narrowly survive the Spanish flu pandemic, and eventually emerge as an influential poet and novelist. A major figure in the American literary expatriate community in Paris during the 1920s and a prominent American novelist in the years leading up to World War II, he spent a decade living abroad before relocating permanently to New York and New Jersey with his partner, Museum of Modern Art publications director and curator Monroe Wheeler. Together they mixed with such intellectual and creative greats as Jean Cocteau, Colette, George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus, Somerset Maugham, Christopher Isherwood, Marianne Moore, W.H. Auden, Truman Capote, Joseph Campbell, and scores of other luminaries. During the second half of his life, Wescott wrote nonfiction essays and worked for the Academy-Institute of Arts and Letters, all the while keeping journals in which he recorded the experiences that fostered his love of life, literature, the arts, and humanity. A Heaven of Words looks back on Wescott's entire fascinating life, and reveals the riveting narrative of his last decades.
What is lesbian literature? Must it contain overtly lesbian characters, and portray them in a positive light? Must the author be overtly (or covertly) lesbian? Does there have to be a lesbian theme and must it be politically acceptable?
Marilyn Farwell here examines the work of such writers as Adrienne Rich, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Jeanette Winterson, Gloria Naylor, and Marilyn Hacker to address these questions. Dividing their writings into two genres--the romantic story and the heroic, or quest, story, Farwell addresses some of the most problematic issues at the intersection of literature, sex, gender, and postmodernism.
Illustrating how the generational conflict between the lesbian- feminists of twenty years ago and the queer theorists of today stokes the critical fires of contemporary lesbian and literary theory, Heterosexual Plots and Lesbian Narratives concludes by arguing for a broad and generous definition of lesbian writing.
Female Sexuality When Normal Wasn’t