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Title: Tension and testimony : conflicts of ideology in gay male fiction since Stonewall
Author: Brookes, Les
ISNI:       0000 0001 3481 5193
Awarding Body: Anglia Polytechnic University
Current Institution: Anglia Ruskin University
Date of Award: 2003
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How does gay male fiction since Stonewall engage with the longstanding conflict in gay culture and politics between assimilationism and radicalism - an opposition described by Jonathan Dollimore as 'one of the most fundamental antagonisms within the politics of sexual dissidence over the past century'? This is my central question in this thesis; and hence discord is my dominant theme. I treat Stonewall as a watershed, but nevertheless see the opposition examined here, like Dollimore, as a conflict that connects past and present. Gay fiction, I argue, is torn between assimilative and radical impulses: between a need to seek integration into the wider social scene on the one hand, and an urge to asserta nd explore the transgressivenesosf homoerotic experience on the other. If this tension shows itself in two distinct strains of gay fiction, it is also at work within individual texts. The tension, in other words, exists both within individual texts and between the writers whose work is examined here. In this study I focus on fiction by Edmund White, Andrew Holleran, David Leavitt, Michael Cunningham, Alan Hollinghurst, Dennis Cooper, Adam Mars-Jones and others. I begin by placing this fiction both in its theoretical/historical context and in the context of earlier fiction by Wilde, Forster, Genet, Vidal, Burroughs and Isherwood. I then discuss the following topics in four separate chapters: gay fiction of the 1970s; gays and the family; sexual transgression; gay fiction and the AIDS epidemic. Post-Stonewall gay male fiction emerges from this whole inquiry as the product of a much expanded and strengthened subculture. Cumulatively, the chapters suggest that it does represent a distinct development from its 'parent' literature, the fiction of the pre-Stonewall period. Nevertheless, one thread of continuity running between the earlier and later periods is precisely this conflict between assimilationism and radicalism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available