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Dr. Susan Sage Heinzelman, Director 2505 University Avenue, A4900, Burdine Hall 536, Austin Texas 78712 • 512-471-5765

Fall 2008


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
48660 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM

Course Description

E314V: "Gay and Lesbian Literature and Culture" will introduce students to some seminal texts in the queer literary canon and expand students' understandings of literature and sexuality. We will be especially attuned to the following questions: Can we accurately identify a history of gay and lesbian identity? How might we read simultaneously through our own cultural lens, and with an understanding of the texts historical period? Our readings will be both historical and contemporary, both overtly and covertly queer; we will read canonical and popular literatures, and expand the terms literature and culture by likewise considering film, music, and visual art. Ultimately, students will assess queer literatures not merely through their subject matter or the public identity of their authors, but also through methods of reading. (That is: how might one read queerly?)


We will begin with some short works, including William Shakespeare's "Sonnet XX" (1609); the second chapter of F. Scott Fitzgeralds The Great Gatsby (1925); and Mary, Lady Chudleighs To Lerinda (1703), to begin thinking about transhistorical approaches to queer themes. Critical readings, including selections from Michel Foucaults A History of Sexuality and Nikki Sullivans Critical Introduction to Queer Theory, will likewise inform our early reading. Once weve established a strong context for what queer identity might comprise, and what a methodology of queer reading might be, we will consider major texts in the queer canon in direct relation to film selections (that is, either adaptations of the texts in question, or films that resonate with the literary themes). Probable authors include: Petronius; Christopher Marlowe; Tennessee Williams; Virginia Woolf; Quentin Crisp; Alice Walker; and Kate Bornstein. Finally, students will consider and discuss queer themes in music and art. The instructor will develop a podcast illustrating queer themes in popular and classical music. A selection of visual materials will be similarly provided as a full-color .pdf available for download.


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