Cultural essay gay homographesis in literary theory

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Cultural essay gay homographesis in literary theory

Whether or not these writers "actually" belong to the LGBT "family," the pantheon of "queer" literary icons is important: The scenarios, plots, images, and ideas found in imaginative writing produce possibilities of reading about "queer" characters, actions, and themes, giving audiences opportunities to identify with, enjoy, identify against, and criticize what they discover on the page.

And if LGBT plots or figures do not explicitly appear, there are always creative ways to "queer" what is being read.

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Literature can and does provide pleasurable escape from worlds that have not historically valued LGBT lives. At the same time, it can provide alternatives to sexual conventions and gender traditions and can provide new ways to think about culture, society, and politics.

At least since the rise of new social movements, including gay liberation and lesbian feminism, in the late s and early s, literary critics and theorists concerned with sexuality and gender have done important work in the United States.

After the s, literature scholars could no longer pretend to be innocent about the ways in which their work was deeply embedded and implicated in the sexual, gender, and other struggles of their eras. In the early s, the tragic advent of the AIDS epidemic added a specific kind of urgency to the academic and institutional knowledge about sexuality and gender that had begun to thrive in U.

Within such a politically charged climate, open to the serious study of marginalized and neglected groups, more and more academic institutions began to include sustainable sexuality and gender curricula.

Literary critics and theorists played key roles in these developments, publishing groundbreaking scholarship and training large numbers of students dedicated to exploring LGBT perspectives on art, culture, literature, history, and politics. Over time, the sustained study of LGBT literature has yielded much more than additions of major works to established national canons, though this has been an important accomplishment.

The field has also increasingly engaged in more than just exercises in literary appreciation; it has inspired critiques of dominant heterosexual and gender-normative societies and cultures and has interrogated the ways in which sexuality and gender are often used as vehicles for expressing ideas about ourselves, our cultures, our histories, and our futures.

Literary artifacts, including poems, plays, novels, and short stories, provide readers with opportunities to be deeply concerned about the language and representation of characters, lives, societies, and contexts filled with sexual and gender complications.

Literature, by definition, is concerned with language—its symbols, images, ideologies, effects, and historical references and influences.

The major skills of literary study—inventive and imaginative practices associated with being careful, attentive, and slow readers—allow for the excavation of the rhetorical devices, images, associations, and implications of sexuality and gender.

Sexuality and gender, in turn, are linked with a virtually limitless array of topics, including love, desire, power, politics, identity, community, society, nationality, internationality, birth, death, health, disease, science, technology, and art.

As a consequence and in line with developments in other literary fields, in the past thirty years LGBT literary criticism and theory have moved beyond a fairly exclusive focus on analyses of canonical literary texts and now contribute greatly to various cultural studies domains. Exploring all sorts of items that can be read for their rhetorical and linguistic properties and effects, LGBT literary critics and theorists today examine, for example, political rhetoric, government documents, court records, film, music, art, advertising, television, sermons, diaries, and letters, not to mention noncanonical literature.

The queer study of literature now tends to function as a form of intellectual inquiry that explores the ways words about sexuality and gender describe, code, shape, evaluate, and transform the worlds in which we live.

One does not simply read about LGBT sexuality and gender anymore—one reads for what representations of sexuality and gender illuminate about life on and off the page.

Major Influences, Methodologies, and Thinkers The dominant reading protocols of literary criticism and theory are often shifting and are influenced by a variety of disciplines, movements, and theories that are not simply literary.

These include history, anthropology, and philosophy; African American, Native American, Latina and Latino, and Asian American movements; and Marxism, psychoanalysis, poststructuralism, and postmodernism. Perhaps more than any other discipline, movement, and theory of the late twentieth century, feminist studies, feminism, and feminist theory initiated the kinds of analyses and conversations that developed into LGBT literary criticism and theory.

Cultural essay gay homographesis in literary theory

Instead, gender reflected and produced uneven and unequal social, cultural, and political arrangements. Because of its "constructed" and constructing qualities, gender could be considered a category of experience open to interrogation and transformation.

Yet while feminist knowledge developed, various women who did not identify with white and heterosexual definitions of feminist experience challenged feminist biases about the "natural and universal character" of sexual desire; they questioned whether women automatically desired men as sexual and emotional partners and in what ways violations of what it means to be a "woman" transforms the definition of "woman.

The striking number of literary essays and essays by literary critics and theorists in this collection is notable; the numbers demonstrate just how influential the study of literature and literary methods have become in sexuality studies—and vice versa.

A quick list of other titles by literature scholars also demonstrates some of the ways in which LGBT criticism has had a dramatic impact on the study of most major literary periods, genres, and national literatures: Chicana Literature and the Urgency of Spaceamong numerous other important titles.

In these works, one can see that literary criticism and theory today focuses on more than "literature" or literary texts. These works explore larger ideas about culture, conceptions of selves and others, and the ways that power, race, class, gender, religion, and nation all join sexuality in making the story of desire and identity that much more complicated.

Much of this work is strongly influenced by what is now called "queer theory," a method of thinking about LGBT politics, arts, and culture that synthesizes the insights of multiple disciplines, particularly those fields engaged in philosophical, linguistic, and psychoanalytic work.It remains important to narrate the emergence of queer theory in terms of various critical and cultural contexts, including feminism, radical movements of color, the lesbian and gay movements, various sexual subcultural practices such as sadomasochism and butch-femme stylings, post-structuralism, postcolonialism, and AIDS activism.

highly readable essay on one of the neglected icons of gay male culture. research. As such, queer theory finds itself in a cultural position parallel to that of our ideas of “the lesbian”, “the gay Edelman, Lee. Homographesis: Essays.

Gay Literary and Cultural Theory. New York: Routledge, Wiegman, Robyn. “Introduction. Comparison and contrast essay two cultures cultural essay gay homographesis in literary theory cavour and garibaldi compare and contrast essays.

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