AIDS Literature and Gay Identity

The Literature of Loss

By Monica B. Pearl

© 2013 – Routledge

200 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9781138936980
pub: 2015-07-15
US Dollars$44.95
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Hardback: 9780415808873
pub: 2012-12-18
US Dollars$140.00
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About the Book

This book discusses the significance of late twentieth century and early twenty first century American fiction written in response to the AIDS crisis and interrogates how sexual identity is depicted and constructed textually. Pearl develops Freudian psychoanalytic theory in a complex account of the ways in which grief is expressed and worked out in literature, showing how key texts from the AIDS crisis by authors such as Edmund White, Michael Cunningham, Eve Sedgwick – and also, later, the archives of The ACT UP Oral History Project - lie both within the tradition of gay writing and a postmodernist poetics. The book demonstrates how literary texts both expose and construct personal identity, how they expose and produce sexual identities, and how gay and queer identities were written onto the page, but also constructed and consolidated by these very texts. Pearl argues that the division between realist and postmodern, and gay and queer, respectively, is determined by whether the experience expressed and accounted is mediated through the psychoanalytic categories of mourning or melancholia, and is marked by a kind of coherence or chaos in the texts themselves. This study presents an important development in scholarly work in gay literary studies, queer theory, and AIDS representation.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Gay Grief 2. Mourning, Identity, and Gay AIDS Fiction 3. Queer AIDS Literature: The Hybrid Text 4. Queer AIDS Literature: Ontology, Melancholia, Fetishism 5. Survival and Marriage 6. Conversations and Queer Filiation

About the Author

Monica B. Pearl is Lecturer in Twentieth Century American Literature at the University of Manchester, UK.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature

From Joyce to Rushdie, Modernism to Food Writing, Routledge Studies in Twentieth Century Literature looks at both the literature and culture of the 20th century. This series is our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections. Considering literature alongside religion, popular culture, race, gender, ecology, travel, class, space, and other subjects, titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LIT004020
LITERARY CRITICISM / American / General
LIT004160
LITERARY CRITICISM / Gay & Lesbian
MED022020
MEDICAL / AIDS & HIV