‘I used to be subversive, but now I’m gay’: representations of queer identities on the American stage from the postwar to the 1990s

Costa, Francisco (2013) ‘I used to be subversive, but now I’m gay’: representations of queer identities on the American stage from the postwar to the 1990s. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

The central aim of this study is to examine ‘non-normative’ masculinities constructed and represented in American drama, theatre and performance throughout the second half of the twentieth century, thus assessing the ‘queer’ challenges these masculinities present to hegemonic ‘heteronormativity.’ To identify the historical, social and cultural constraints that shaped the manifestations of ‘gay’ male identities on the American stage from the postwar to the 1990s, I will offer extended analysis and close reading of selected texts. I will examine Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), Suddenly, Last Summer (1958), Mart Crowley’s The Boys in the Band (1968), Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart (1985), Tony Kushner’s two Angels in America (1992) plays, Millennium Approaches and Perestroika, Terrence McNally’s Love! Valour! Compassion! (1994), and David Drake’s The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me (1994).
My analysis of the selected texts will demonstrate that some of these particular plays represent ‘gay’ male individuals who challenge, and others, who identify themselves with ideological principals of a hegemonic ‘heteronormativity.’ Consequently, in this study I partially outline a history of ‘queer’ drama, theatre and performance in America throughout the second half of the twentieth century, and examine how ‘gay’ male identities were represented particularly by ‘gay’ male authors during this period. I will also analyse to what extent these representations were subversive, assimilative, or had a hidden agenda, and most importantly, I seek to deconstruct established conceptions of the works here analysed, considered to be the most assimilative, which through a ‘queer’-inflected close reading can be in fact read as the most subversive.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of American Studies
Depositing User: Brian Watkins
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 09:41
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 09:41
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/48011
DOI:

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