Sunday, April 14, 2013

Queer Lit Reading List (Diversity in American Literature Final Project)

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name - Audre Lorde
Black, lesbian, feminist Audre Lorde writes what she calls a "biomythography" blending the actual events of her life with literary embellishment. Zami, which is a name for women who work together as friends and lovers, weaves the different events of her lives together into a tale of lesbianism, feminism, racial issues, and the relations we have with each other.

Rubyfruit Jungle - Rita Mae Brown
A semi-autobiographical coming-of-age lesbian story taking place in the 1950's and early 1960's....(more)

Faggots - Larry Kramer
The story of a gay man trying to find love and a long-term relationship amidst a hyper-sexual, post-stonewall, pre-AIDS, drug abusing, New York, gay subculture.

People in Trouble - Sarah Schulman
Set in New York in the late 1980's the story follows three individuals--a woman, her husband, and her lesbian lover--as they navigate a world of AIDS, gentrification, art, self-identity, and guerrilla gay activism.

Two People - David Windham
A story about a love affair between two men. One a middle-aged American, the other a much younger Italian. Published four years before Stonewall, the work was largely forgotten for several decades and was just recently re-printed.

Strange Brother - Blair Niles

Marriage Below Zero - Allan Dale

Imre: A Memorandum - Xavier Mayne

King's Row - Henry Bellaman

Another Country - James Baldwin

Paul's Case - Willa Cather

The Lost Weekend - Charles Jackson

The Fall of Valor - Charles Jackson

Christopher and His Kind - Christopher Isherwood
A memoir of the author's time spent in Berlin (where there was a flourishing gay subculture) during the 1930's until he left with the rise of the Nazis.  Isherwood was born and raised in England, but moved to America after leaving Berlin and became a U.S. citizen in 1946.

The Gallery - John Horne Burns

Kiss of the Spider Woman - Manuel Puig

The Men From the Boys - William J. Mann

Angels in America - Tony Kushner
A story of life set in the mid 1980's at the height of the AIDS crisis, this play follows an unlikely cast of characters from diverse backgrounds (gay, jewish, black, Mormon) as they deal with sickness, repressed sexuality, guilt, religion, loneliness, addiction, and fear.  In what Kushner describes as a "gay fantasia" the action often deviates from common perception of reality.

The Normal Heart - Larry Kramer
Written in the mid-80's by a gay activist at the forefront of AIDS activism in a time when very little was known about the disease, this semi-autobiographical play deals with the lack of government response to a pandemic in which people were dying from a disease they didn't understand. Amidst such horror, the play manages to be a story of love, hope, and fighting to survive.

A Single Man - Christopher Isherwood

Howl - Allen Ginsberg

Bertram Cope's Year - Henry Blake Fuller
Published in 1919, it was one of the first positive portrayals of a homosexual couple in American literature. In order for such a story to be published, the homosexuality of the characters had to be disguised to the point that it is never explicitely stated and one must very much "read between the lines" to understand what is actually going on. This however becomes a fun sort of game of figuring out what the story is about.  Aditionally, this period piece of romances provides and interesting look into how an author must censor himself in order to escape being censored entirely.

The City and the Pillar - Gore Vidal
The first American novel to portray a young homosexual man openly and in a positive light. It centers around ____ who, after high school, journey's around the world and and explore's the homosexual subcultures of America, all the while longing after his high school friend ____ with whom he had one brief sexual encounter with (when).

Giovanni's Room - James Baldwin


De Profundis

The Laramie Project
Tectonic Theatre Project's docu-drama about the residents of Laramie, Wyoming processing the hate-based murder of Matthew Shepherd that took place in their own town.

I Am My Own Wife

Maurice - E.M. Forster
Written in 1913, but not published due to censorship until 1971, Maurice is a love story in which the upper middle-class title character explores his sexuality from private school, to University, to the working world.  It is an interesting look at homosexuality in a time when it was starting to get discussed slightly more openly but when it was still a crime in Great Britain where the book takes place.

Stop Kiss

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