(In)Visible: performances of gay and lesbian dramatic literature on the American stage from 1910 to 1969

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(In)Visible: performances of gay and lesbian dramatic literature on the American stage from 1910 to 1969

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Title: (In)Visible: performances of gay and lesbian dramatic literature on the American stage from 1910 to 1969
Author: Campagna, Vanessa
Date: 2012-05-01
Abstract: (In)Visible: Performances of Gay and Lesbian Dramatic Literature on the American Stage from 1910 to 1969 provides a decade-by-decade analysis of plays with queer content from the 1910s to the 1960s. The aim is to chronicle the emergence of gay and lesbian characters and themes, with particular respect to the how the plays' queer content reflects the socio-political climate during the periods in which the plays debuted. The plays analyzed were selected as representative works from each of the seven decades that preceded The Stonewall Riots. Because plays are primary sources, they serve as the window through which earlier perceptions of and attitudes toward homosexuality and homosexuals are discerned. Secondary sources are used liberally to provide historical context. The analytic process begins with a rudimentary plot overview to ensure the reader's familiarity with each dramatic text. An in-depth discussion of the perceptions and attitudes exposed in the work follows the plot summary; at this point, it is increasingly important to discern the subtleties that may have been overlooked by the play's premiere critics and audiences. It is imperative to note that many early works of gay and lesbian dramatic literature were not written by Americans; therefore, the original texts were not English. Examples are Gott fun Nekoma, written by Polish playwright Sholom Asch, and La Prisonnière, written by French playwright Edouard Bourdet. For this reason, the plays discussed are classified by decade, according to the year of the English-speaking, American stage debut. With specific reference to the initiation of the Gay Liberation Movement in 1969, the analyses of plays illustrates the ways in which American homosexuals achieved visibility through performance art and were, thus, empowered to engage in the subversive political uprisings of Stonewall.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10355/14096

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