Contemporary Gay American Poets and Playwrights: An A-to-Z Guide

By Emmanuel S. Nelson | Go to book overview

MARTIN SHERMAN (1938–)

Dean Shackelford


BIOGRAPHY

Born in Philadelphia in 1938, Martin Sherman has spent most of his adult life in London. He studied at Boston University. After attempting to become established as a playwright in New York City, he moved to London. There he felt he would be able to gain more respect and to rebel against what he perceived as the cold climate of the New York theater community. In 1979, he achieved wide acclaim and recognition over the Holocaust drama Bent, a study of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals. Of late, he has written screenplays, including an adaptation of Bent for film, and continues to live in London, where he feels there is a more congenial atmosphere for playwrights than in the United States.


MAJOR WORKS AND THEMES

The dominant theme of Sherman’s canon is the outsider in an intolerant society. This theme is especially evident in Bent, the 1979 stage sensation. Throughout the play Max, the main character, comes to terms with his identity as a gay man—after pleading for the life of his companion with whom he has fallen deeply in love while in Dachau, the Nazi concentration camp. Bent premiered at a time in the history of gay representation in theater when few positive and/or nonstereotypical gay characters appeared. As Sherman states in an interview, “At the time I wrote Bent it was important to declare yourself as a gay writer” (Raymond 102).

As a play, Bent combines tragedy and history in such a way as to comment on what was at that time a little known fact of the Holocaust: the common imprisonment and persecution of homosexuals by the Nazi regime. As the play opens in Berlin, Max picks up Wolfgang Granz, an attractive young blond and military

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Contemporary Gay American Poets and Playwrights: An A-to-Z Guide
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • Edward Albee (1928–) 1
  • Jeff Baron (1952–) 11
  • Jeffery Beam (1953–) 19
  • David Bergman (1950–) 25
  • Alan Bowne (1945–1989) 29
  • Donald Britton (1951–1994) 38
  • James Broughton (1913–1999) 43
  • Bibliography 50
  • Victor Bumbalo (1946–) 54
  • Charles Busch (1954–) 61
  • Leo F. Cabranes-Grant (1960–) 69
  • Robert Chesley (1943–1990) 74
  • Justin Chin (1969–) 82
  • Alfred Corn (1943–) 87
  • Mart Crowley (1935–) 93
  • Melvin Dixon (1950–1992) 101
  • Bibliography 106
  • Tim Dlugos (1950–1990) 108
  • Bibliography 116
  • Mark Doty (1953–) 117
  • Bibliography 123
  • David Drake (1963–) 125
  • Robert Duncan (1919–1988) 130
  • Christopher Durang (1949–) 141
  • Edward Field (1924–) 147
  • Harvey Fierstein (1954–) 153
  • William Finn (1952–) 162
  • Kenny Fries (1960–) 171
  • Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997) 178
  • Thom Gunn (1929–) 188
  • Bibliography 196
  • Essex Hemphill (1957–1995) 198
  • William M. Hoffman (1939–) 205
  • Richard Howard (1929–) 212
  • Bibliography 215
  • Maurice Kenny (1929–) 217
  • Bibliography 220
  • Rudy Kikel (1943–) 222
  • Harry Kondoleon (1955–1994) 230
  • Bibliography 234
  • Larry Kramer (1935–) 236
  • Tony Kushner (1956–) 246
  • Michael Lassell (1947–) 260
  • Timothy Liu (1965–) 268
  • Craig Lucas (1951–) 272
  • Charles Ludlam (1943–1987) 280
  • J.D. Mcclatchy (1945–) 288
  • Bibliography 291
  • Terrence Mcnally (1939–) 293
  • Bibliography 307
  • Scott Mcpherson (1959–1992) 309
  • James Merrill (1926–1995) 316
  • Paul Monette (1945–1995) 323
  • Frank O’hara (1926–1966) 334
  • Bibliography 340
  • Robert O’hara (1970–) 342
  • Peter Parnell (1953–) 349
  • Carl Phillips (1959–) 357
  • Kenneth Pobo (1954–) 363
  • D.A. Powell (1963–) 369
  • Bibliography 376
  • Guillermo Reyes (1962–) 377
  • Bibliography 382
  • Assotto Saint (yves FranÇois Lubin) (1957–1994) 383
  • Bibliography 387
  • F. Allen Sawyer (1957–) 388
  • Bibliography 392
  • James Schuyler (1923–1991) 393
  • Reginald Shepherd (1963–) 398
  • Bibliography 405
  • Martin Sherman (1938–) 406
  • Aaron Shurin (1947–) 412
  • David Trinidad (1953–) 421
  • Gore Vidal (1925–) 427
  • Bibliography 435
  • Jonathan Williams (1929–) 438
  • Doric Wilson (1939–) 444
  • Lanford Wilson (1937–) 451
  • Chay Yew (1966–) 461
  • Selected Bibliography 467
  • Index 469
  • About the Contributors 477
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