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Title:Queer American expatriate writers in France and the birth of the gay modernist subject
Author(s):Dimock, Chase
Director of Research:Blake, Nancy
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Blake, Nancy
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Bauer, Dale M.; Nelson, Cary; Stockton, Kathryn
Department / Program:Comparative & World Literature
Discipline:Comparative Literature
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):American Literature
LGBT History
Expatriate Movement
Modernist Studies
Queer Literature
Abstract:This dissertation is a comprehensive critical history of forgotten or neglected queer American writers in the international expatriate community in France who used their time in the French mainland and colonies to construct early narratives of gay identity. This project argues that French literature and art, which had already articulated discourses and paradigms of queer sexuality through writers like Proust, Gide, and Colette, and French cultural spaces in which a vibrant underground queer culture was present, were integral to the imagination of American gay identity and culture in the early to mid 20th century. This dissertation contends that through modernist French and European philosophies and literary movements such as surrealism, psychoanalysis, orientalism, and existentialism, queer American writers were able to imagine and express queer identity and desire in ways previously unspeakable in an American context. By considering unpublished manuscripts from the archives and reevaluating overlooked queer-themed works from the Lost Generation era through the 50s in France, this study uses this new history of queer writers in France to explore the wide range of queer expression in pre-Stonewall American literature before it would eventually be consolidated under the term “gay.”
Issue Date:2014-05-30
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Chase Dimock
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-05-30
Date Deposited:2014-05

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