ENGLISH 407 - Topics in English Language and Literature
Section: 001 The Age of Innocence: Male Love and Romance in U.S. Literature before Gay Liberation
Term: FA 2019
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

Too often we assume that male same-sex love and desire did not achieve public literary expression before the 1960s, when the sexual revolution and gay liberation created the conditions necessary for the emergence of an openly gay male culture. But new research has uncovered a trove of writing about male romance and same-sex love in the United States from as early as the 1860s, if not before. This class will survey that remarkable and accomplished body of newly recovered stories and novels, much of it suggestive rather than explicit, chaste rather than sexual. Readings will also include recent scholarship about this material, which helps to reconstitute the world of erotic and moral feeling from which it emerged. Authors to be read include once popular figures who have since been forgotten, such as Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, Bayard Taylor, Charles Warren Stoddard, Frederick Wadsworth Loring, Alfred J. Cohen/Alan Dale, Edward Irenaeus Stevenson, Henry Blake Fuller, and Bruce Nugent, as well as better known writers such as Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Bret Harte, Willa Cather, Sherwood Anderson, and William Maxwell, whose own queer art appears in a new light when it is set beside the work of their once famous, now obscure, and recently rediscovered contemporaries.

Course Requirements:

Course requirements include attendance, class participation, weekly responses to the assigned reading, one short paper, one in-class oral report, and a final research project.

ENGLISH 407 - Topics in English Language and Literature
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
Th 6:00PM - 9:00PM
002 (SEM)
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
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