Contemporary Gay and Lesbian Literature Criticism: Contemporary Gay Literature - Essay

Rene Prieto (essay date spring 1985)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Prieto, Rene. “The Ambiviolent Fiction of Severo Sarduy.” Symposium 39, no. 1 (spring 1985): 49-60.

[In the following essay, Prieto explores the themes of death and mutilation in the novels of Severo Sarduy, noting that his characters are always changing, with destruction often acting as the agent for change.]

La muerte—la pausa que refresca—forma parte de la vida.

Severo Sarduy, Cobra

C'est en somme d'un codage de la pulsion de mort, dont Freud nous dit qu'elle est antérieure à l'objet et à l'amour, qu'il s'agit dans le récit obscène.

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(The entire section is 5686 words.)

Mark Lilly (essay date 1993)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Lilly, Mark. “Andrew Holleran: Dancer from the Dance and Nights in Aruba.” In Gay Men's Literature in the Twentieth Century, pp. 190-205. New York: New York University Press, 1993.

[In the following excerpt, Lilly discusses the themes in two of Andrew Holleran's novels about gay men—Dancer from the Dance and Nights in Aruba—concluding that both books convey a sense of weariness in waiting for love.]

Towards the end, I used to sit on the sofa in the back of the Twelfth Floor [disco] and wonder. Many of them were very attractive, these young men whose cryptic disappearance in New York City...

(The entire section is 5804 words.)

Mark Lilly (essay date 1993)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Lilly, Mark. “David Leavitt: The Lost Language of Cranes.” In Gay Men's Literature in the Twentieth Century, pp. 206-19. New York: New York University Press, 1993.

[In the following excerpt, Lilly analyzes David Leavitt's Lost Language of Cranes as an outstanding example of the coming-out novel.]

The Lost Language of Cranes1 is an outstanding example of the recent tradition of coming out novels, many examples of which appeared in the 1970s and 1980s. The formula normally used in such novels involves, first, showing us the family relationships before the coming out, then the more or less traumatic coming out period itself, and...

(The entire section is 5463 words.)

Ricardo L. Ortiz (essay date 1993)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Ortiz, Ricardo L. “Sexuality Degree Zero: Pleasure and Power in the Novels of John Rechy, Arturo Islas, and Michael Nava.” In Critical Essays: Gay and Lesbian Writers of Color, edited by Emmanuel S. Nelson, pp. 111-26. London: Haworth Press, 1993.

[In the following essay, Ortiz examines the works of gay Chicano writers John Rechy, Arturo Islas, and Michael Nava in terms of how they use sexuality to create a literary voice that attests to their “doubly marginalized but defiant” status.]

The writer is always on the blind spot of systems, adrift; he is the joker in the pack, a mana, a zero degree … his place, his (exchange) value,...

(The entire section is 5616 words.)

John Vincent (essay date summer 1998)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Vincent, John. “Reports of Looting and Insane Buggery behind Altars: John Ashbery's Queer Poetics.” Twentieth Century Literature 44, no. 2 (summer 1998): 155-75.

[In the following essay, Vincent theorizes that John Ashbery's linguistically difficult poetics mirrors the difficulties of being gay, and that his poems build up to a sense of closure that seems to elude the poet in life.]

Among critics there is no disagreement about John Ashbery's sexuality. Perhaps that is because Ashbery is actually a registered homosexual. He came out to the draft board and was exempted from military service during the Korean War (Shoptaw 5). On the other hand, Ashbery,...

(The entire section is 8969 words.)

Randy A. Rodriguez (essay date winter 1998)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Rodriguez, Randy A. “Richard Rodriguez Reconsidered: Queering the Sissy (Ethnic) Subject.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 40, no. 4 (winter 1998): 396-423.

[In the following essay, the critic argues that Richard Rodriguez's work is rejected by many conservative Chicano critics not only because of his assimilationist narratives, but also because as a homosexual, he is considered to be a “non-man” in Chicano culture.]

I don't like the word “gay.” Gay is a word better used for a butterfly, not human beings. Queer says “in your face.” Queer says “I'm here whether you like it or not.”

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(The entire section is 12324 words.)