The story goes that the late 1960s marks the beginning of a visible queer culture in the U.S., after which queer people were able to claim their identities openly for the first time. However, long before the 1960s, writers such as Willa Cather and Walt Whitman depicted queer sexuality in their work, indicating that this story isn't so simple. Beginning at the end of the Civil War, this course surveys queer literary production before gay liberation, including writers such as Gertrude Stein, Langston Hughes, and Ann Bannon. Throughout, we will consider a number of questions. In what ways did the pre-Stonewall historical moment enable LGBT identities, and in what ways did it render those identities unsustainable? How did racial, class, and gender identities intersect with queerness in this earlier period? What is queer about the literary forms and styles these writers deployed, and how might their writing have laid important groundwork for queer writers of today? Students will write and revise three essays during the semester.
Course Attributes: EN H; BU Hum; AS HUM; AS WI I; FA HUM; AR HUM