A Queer Sort of Materialism: Recontextualizing American Theater

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University of Michigan Press, 2003 - Literary Criticism - 234 pages
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In engaging, accessible prose, leading theater critic and cultural commentator David Savran explores the intersections between art and culture, offering smart, compelling interpretations of the economic and social contexts of theatrical texts and practices. Acknowledging theater's marginal status in U.S. culture, A Queer Sort of Materialism takes on "the trouble-makers--the ghost, closeted homosexual, masochist, drag king, Third World laborer, even the white male as victim"--who figure more prominently in theater than in other cultural forms. In impeccably researched and argued essays that range in subject matter from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Paula Vogel, from Suddenly Last Summer to Iron John, Savran uncovers the ways that such troublemakers both challenge and reinforce orthodox social practices.
The selections presented here are by turns entertaining, informative, sophisticated, and polemical, reflecting the author's dual citizenship as rigorous scholar and engaging theater critic. This book also provides a model for a kind of queer historical materialism that will prove useful to a wide range of disciplines, including theater and performance, gender and sexuality, queer/gay/lesbian/transgender studies, American studies, and popular culture.
David Savran is Professor of Theater, the Graduate Center, the City University of New York, and author of Cowboys, Communists, and Queers and Taking It Like a Man.
 

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Contents

Middlebrow Anxiety
3
The Queerest Art
56
The Haunted Stages of Modernity
82
Ambivalence Utopia and a Queer Sort of Materialism How Angels in America Reconstructs the Nation
107
The Sadomasochist in the Closet Sam Shepard Robert Bly and the New White Masculinity
134
A Different Kind of Closet Drama or The Melancholy Heterosexuality of Jane Bowles
155
Eat Me
170
In and Out
180
Paula Vogel as Male Impersonator
187
Notes
205
Index
225
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About the author (2003)

Rachel Adams is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Her writing includes the book "Sideshow U.S.A.: Freaks and the American Imagination" (2001) and articles in "American Literature," "Camera" "Obscura," "GLQ," and "Michigan Quarterly,"

David Savran is Professor of Theatre at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. He has written two books on masculinity: "Taking It Like a Man: White Masculinity, Masochism, and Contemporary American Culture" (1998) and "Communists, Cowboys, and Queers: The Politics of Masculinity in the Work of Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams" (1992).