Who's Who in Lesbian and Gay Writing

Who's Who in Lesbian and Gay Writing

Who's Who in Lesbian and Gay Writing

Who's Who in Lesbian and Gay Writing

Synopsis

Who's Who in Lesbian and Gay Writing is a lively and accessible biographical guide to lesbian and gay literary culture, from Sappho to modern pulp fiction. Featuring authors of works with lesbian or gay content as well as known lesbian and gay writers, this volume opens the boundaries of this field to include the writers of popular cultural fiction. It places these alongside the canon of poets, dramatists and novelists, to acknowledge the importance of pop culture to gay and lesbian communities. It includes fascinating entries on authors from W.H. Auden to Alice Walker, James Baldwin to Virginia Woolf. Also included are those such as Judith Butler who have theorised lesbian and gay culture and writing, or have contributed to the uncovering and charting of this vibrant literary history. Fully cross referenced, and with suggestions for further reading, this book offers an invaluable guide to a rich and varied literary culture and is indispensable for anyone with an interest in lesbian and gay writing.

Excerpt

The last forty years have seen an explosion in the scholarship on lesbian and gay writing. Changes in attitudes towards homosexuality and in relevant legislation, especially I n many Anglophone, Northern, and Western countries, have promoted a much greater knowledge of lesbian and gay cultural production. This has resulted in the increasing documentation of that production through the publication and translation of many primary texts, images, etc., the construction of reference works, and the gradual building up of a body of scholarship and research on lesbian and gay culture. There is thus by now, in many countries, a well-established sense of a lesbian and gay literary history, tradition, heritage, even canon; in many countries, but not in all. the uneven distribution of that knowledge was brought home to me when I asked an Italian friend, a lesbian literary scholar, about lesbian and gay writing in Italy. She did not know of any and stated that in Italy lesbians and gays are still very much closeted, and that writers would not, for example, disclose their sexual preferences. Similarly, a lesbian friend from Belgium who runs a documentation centre sent me, when I asked for information about lesbian and gay writing, a list of four writers, which began with Radclyffe Hall and had no Belgian names included. the point is that the establishment of a lesbian and gay literary or cultural history is in a state of uneven development across different countries and, furthermore, that even within one country potential lesbian and gay readers may not know of the lesbian and gay work produced in their own country, among other things because of small print runs, limited outlets for distribution, an absence of the 'mainstreaming' of lesbian and gay writing or any public debates about lesbian and gay culture, and many other reasons. However, what is also very clear is that there is, and has been, much lesbian and gay work 'out there' that remains unacknowledged and unrecorded.

Lesbian and gay writing-what does this phrase mean and how is it used in this volume? At the beginning of the twenty-first century identity and sexuality are both terms that have become extensively problematized through the arrivals of both postmodern and queer theory. Identity and sexuality are no longer regarded as fixed, stable entities; instead it has become increasingly clear that categories

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