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Cruising the Gay Canon: Examining Cornerstones of Gay American Fiction from 1945 to 1969

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In the mid-twentieth century, a number of vital and quietly revolutionary gay male writers, including Christopher Isherwood, Gore Vidal, James Baldwin, and John Rechy, increasingly wrote about explicitly homosexual experiences and culture despite social and legal opposition. Both individually and

In the mid-twentieth century, a number of vital and quietly revolutionary gay male writers, including Christopher Isherwood, Gore Vidal, James Baldwin, and John Rechy, increasingly wrote about explicitly homosexual experiences and culture despite social and legal opposition. Both individually and collectively, these four authors ultimately merged disjointed identities to establish a tradition of visibility and resistance in the United States. Divided into four main sections, this thesis examines each author’s portrayal of homosexual experiences and culture through his distinct approach with a close literary analysis of various works. The first section considers Christopher Isherwood and how milieu affects his depictions of homosexuality in The Berlin Stories (1945), Down There on a Visit (1962), and A Single Man (1964). The second examines Gore Vidal’s The City and the Pillar (1948) and the relationship between homosexuality and masculinity. The third section looks at how James Baldwin writes about the intersection of homosexuality, race, nationality, and class in both Giovanni’s Room (1956) and Another Country (1962). Finally, the fourth section considers the emergence of queer communities built around resistance in John Rechy’s City of Night (1963). In addition to these literary texts, original reviews of each novel published in The New York Times capture their reception and acceptance into a mainstream American readership. Through their distinct approaches, these four authors collectively present a varied, although somewhat limited, look at the homosexual experience in postwar, pre-Stonewall America.

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2019-05

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Miltonic Christology in Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained

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Often when considering John Milton's greatest work, Paradise Lost, the general public operates under a number of assumptions which are patently false. One of these assumptions is that Milton was an orthodox Christian when writing Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.

Often when considering John Milton's greatest work, Paradise Lost, the general public operates under a number of assumptions which are patently false. One of these assumptions is that Milton was an orthodox Christian when writing Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. This thesis sheds light on the issue by examining his personal beliefs about the trinity in De Doctrina Christiana, defending the use of the treatise in analyzing the poems, and explaining how Milton uses veiled language in order to hide his heterodox beliefs. I contend that deriving an antitrinitarian mode of thought from De Doctrina Christiana and reading the poem with this antitrinitarian belief, the cognitive frame of reference in which Milton was when writing both poems, in mind is a more consistent reading of Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained than reading both texts with a traditional, orthodox, Christian perspective. Examining a variety of selections from Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, I demonstrate the powerful nature of the antitrintarian reading of Milton. Many passages, for example the invocation in the opening lines of Book III of Paradise Lost, become much clearer with an antitrinitarian reading. Reading the texts with an antitrinitarian view reduces ambiguity in the text and clarifies a number of passages and details which, from a Trinitarian view, are left completely unanswered in Paradise Lost. In addition to clarifying confusing passages, an antitrinitarian reading demonstrates Milton's masterful use of 17th century English Protestantism "buzz-words" to mask his true beliefs without compromising his personal religious convictions about the second member of the Christian Triune Godhead.

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2016-12