Foundlings: Lesbian and Gay Historical Emotion Before Stonewall
What is it like to “feel historical”? In Foundlings Christopher Nealon analyzes texts produced by American gay men and lesbians in the first half of the twentieth century—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 “foundling”—a term for queer disaffiliation from and desire for family, nation, and history.
The young runaways in Cather’s novels, the way critics conflated Crane’s homosexual body with his verse, the suggestive poses and utopian captions of muscle magazines, and Beebo Brinker, the aging butch heroine from Ann Bannon’s pulp novels—all embody for Nealon the uncertain space between two models of lesbian and gay sexuality. The “inversion” 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 “ethnic” model refers to the existence of a distinct and collective culture among gay men and lesbians. Nealon’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.
This startlingly original study will interest those working on gay and lesbian studies, American literature and culture, and twentieth-century history.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
Foundlings: Lesbian and Gay Historical Emotion before Stonewall
Limited preview - 2001
adolescence ality ambivalence American Ann Bannon argues artists Bannon Bannon's novels Beebo Beth Bob Mizer body Bridge butch chapter characters Charles Atlas Claude Claude's closet contemporary Crane's poems critics Daughters of Bilitis describes desire difference essay ethnic experience fantasy feel femininity figure foundling texts gay male genre girl Hart Crane heterosexual homophobia homosexuality idea identify identity images imagination inversion model language Laura lesbian and gay lesbian pulp lesbian pulp fiction lesbian pulp novels literary Loewenstein lyric male homosexuality Manual Enterprises marriage melodramatic Menuhin modernity movement muscle magazines narrative never physical culture physique magazines Physique Pictorial poem's poet poetic political pulp novels Quaintance's Queer Nation queer theory race racial racism readers reading relationship Sapphira scene secret sense sexology sexuality slave social song specifically story struggle subcultural suggest Thea Thea's tion turn understand Willa Cather woman women words writing young