The Violet Hour: The Violet Quill and the Making of Gay Culture

The Violet Hour: The Violet Quill and the Making of Gay Culture

The Violet Hour: The Violet Quill and the Making of Gay Culture

The Violet Hour: The Violet Quill and the Making of Gay Culture


This writing workbook will develop all the language skills that students need to perform well in class and on state tests.

Preparing for the SOL Writing Test

The SOL Writing test contains two parts. In Part 1, students revise, edit, and plan passages. Section 1 of this book will give students practice answering these types of questions. In Part 2, students write a story or essay based on a writing prompt. Section 3 of this book will give students practice completing these types of writing tasks. The quizzes in Section 2 of this book will develop the specific writing and language skills that students need to perform well on both parts of the SOL Writing test.

Preparing for the SOL Reading Test

Around 25% of the questions on the SOL Reading test are word analysis and vocabulary questions. Students can greatly improve their overall score on the test by focusing on improving these skills. Section 2 of this book will develop these essential skills.

Section 1: Revising and Editing Quizzes

- Mini-tests provide practice answering revising and editing questions

- Includes the same questions types found on the SOL Writing test

- Allows students to gain experience completing editing and revising tasks

- Covers all the revising and editing skills that students will need for the state test

Section 2: Language, Vocabulary, and Grammar Quizzes

- Individual quizzes cover each language arts skill individually

- Covers all the key skills that Virginia students need

- Allows for gaps in knowledge to be identified

- Provides the opportunity for targeted revision

- Develops and improves on the skills needed for the SOL Writing test and the SOL Reading test

Guided Writing Tasks

- Guided writing tasks teach students how to approach writing tasks

- The writing prompts are just like those found on the SOL Writing test

- Includes writing prompts for narrative, descriptive, and explanatory writing

- Gives students practice writing short stories, letters, essays, and more

- Guided writing tasks help ensure that student writing will score well on state tests


We have the Lost Generation, the Mauve Decade, and even what the eminent scholar Hugh Kenner dubbed the Pound Era. I call the subject of this book “the Violet Hour” not only because I wish to avoid grandiosity but also because I want to emphasize the brevity, fragility, and transitory nature of this particular cultural episode. The title derives from the Violet Quill, the name a group of writers gave to their short-lived literary club. But by the Violet Hour, I mean something larger. I hope to evoke with the term that short period when a few gay men were creating their own culture in the wake of gay liberation. Edmund White has written, “To have been oppressed in the 1950s, freed in the 1960s, exalted in the 1970s, and wiped out in the 1980s is a quick itinerary for a whole culture to follow” (BL:215). It is this quick itinerary that I shall here examine. But White’s account, although it seems like one of those breathless packaged tours of Europe, really disguises the rapidity of the changes. Between the June 1969 Stonewall Riots—in which White took part—and the first gleanings of the disease that would come to be known as AIDS (and from which he suffers) is a mere dozen years. I have attempted to use the seven authors who made up the Violet Quill as a lens to view this period. Ironically, they came together just as the culture that they were a part of was on the verge of being wiped out. Indeed, of the seven writers who comprised the Violet Quill, only three are still alive.

All lenses produce distortions, and the Violet Quill distorts, no doubt, what we can observe of the cultural formation of gay men after Stonewall. The writers in the group speak of a relatively small society, but their works, taken together (which are among the best known of the time), have a clarity and scope . . .

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