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Foundlings: Lesbian and Gay Historical Emotion Before Stonewall (Series Q)by Christopher S. Nealon
Synopses & Reviews
What is it like to andldquo;feel historicalandrdquo;? In Foundlings Christopher Nealon analyzes texts produced by American gay men and lesbians in the first half of the twentieth centuryandmdash;poems by Hart Crane, novels by Willa Cather, gay male physique magazines, and lesbian pulp fiction. Nealon brings these diverse works together by highlighting a coming-of-age narrative he calls andldquo;foundlingandrdquo;andmdash;a term for queer disaffiliation from and desire for family, nation, and history.
and#9;The young runaways in Catherandrsquo;s novels, the way critics conflated Craneandrsquo;s homosexual body with his verse, the suggestive poses and utopian captions of muscle magazines, and Beebo Brinker, the aging butch heroine from Ann Bannonandrsquo;s pulp novelsandmdash;all embody for Nealon the uncertain space between two models of lesbian and gay sexuality. The andldquo;inversionandrdquo; model dominant in the first half of the century held that homosexuals are souls of one gender trapped in the body of another, while the more contemporary andldquo;ethnicandrdquo; model refers to the existence of a distinct and collective culture among gay men and lesbians. Nealonandrsquo;s unique readings, however, reveal a constant movement between these two discursive poles, and not, as is widely theorized, a linear progress from one to the other.
and#9;This startlingly original study will interest those working on gay and lesbian studies, American literature and culture, and twentieth-century history.
""Foundlings" is a first-rate, innovative, and unprecedented work that will take the literary world by storm. Christopher Nealon proves himself here to be the very best of a new generation of queer theorists."--Judith Butler
""Foundlings" provides a new paradigm for thinking historically and theoretically about the longing for history within gay and lesbian texts. This is not just a stunning addition to queer historiography but also a challenge to the historicist turn in literary and cultural criticism."--Bill Brown, author of "The Material Unconscious: American Amusement, Stephen Crane, and the Economies of Play
""Foundlings" provides a new paradigm for thinking historically and theoretically about the longing for history within gay and lesbian texts. This is not just a stunning addition to queer historiography but also a challenge to the historicist turn in literary and cultural criticism."--Bill Brown, author of "The Material Unconscious: American Amusement, Stephen Crane, and the Economies of Play"
An examination of the concept of orphandom in gay and lesbian experience, and how it has been instrumental in defining and mobilizing queer subcultures.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -205) and index.
About the Author
Christopher Nealon is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley.
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