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Elizabeth Cullingford, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Thomas Lindsay

M.A., The University of Texas at Austin

Graduate Student



Early Modern English Drama, Elizabethan and Stuart Court Culture and Performance, LGBTQ Literature and Culture, Performance Criticism

E 314V • Gay & Lesbian Lit & Culture

34780 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm MEZ 1.216
(also listed as WGS 301 )
show description

Instructor:  Lindsay, T Areas:  -- / A

Unique #:  34780 Flags:  Cultural diversity, Writing

Semester:  Spring 2013 Restrictions:  n/a

Cross-lists:  WGS 301 Computer Instruction:  No

Prerequisites: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A.

Description: In Edward II, Christopher Marlowe wrote one of the frankest depictions of same-sex desire in the entire English Renaissance. Were Marlowe’s lead characters, King Edward II and his favorite, Gaveston, “gay”? It is challenging and fun to consider this question, because we have to think carefully about how Marlowe and his Renaissance audience may have understood and experienced same-sex desire.

Texts written way back in the 1500’s aren’t the only ones that merit historically and culturally sensitive reading. When readers examine same-sex desire in works of literature, they often think carefully about who produced those works, for whom, and in what cultures. And they do so whether the works were written in the 1500’s or in the 2000’s.

Examining the relationship between same-sex desire, literature, and culture in this way helps readers get at big-picture questions such as, How does a culture’s attitude toward sexuality influence the literature that that culture produces? How can a culture’s literature influence its attitudes toward sexuality? And where do contemporary notions of sexuality come from?

In “Gay and Lesbian Literature and Culture” students will learn strategies for reading and researching that will help them answer these very questions. In order to practice these strategies, we will read, discuss, and write about a range of historical and contemporary texts using three approaches: formal, historical, and cultural. In this way, students will practice some of the analytical reading and critical writing skills that are fundamentally important both to the English major and, more generally, to writing at the university level. Students will also learn how to use the Oxford English Dictionary Online and other research resources that are essential to literary study.

Texts: Texts may include Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II; selections fromWilliam Shakespeare’s Sonnets; Oscar Wilde’s “The Portrait of Mr. W. H.”; Virginia Woolf’s Orlando; James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room; Jeanette Winterson’s The Passion; Alan Hollinghurst’s The Swimming Pool Library; Jennie Livingston’s Paris is Burning; Tony Kushner’s Angles in America; Wong Kar-wai’s Happy Together; Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home; and the music of LGBTQ artists such as Antony and the Johnsons, Hunx & His Punx, Perfume Genius, and Frank Ocean. Course texts will also include a course packet on relevant historical and critical readings.

Requirements and Grading: Students will write two or three short, 2-4-page essays, the first of which will be revised (35%); they will develop one of these essays into a longer 6-8-page essay (30%); they will also lead one day of class discussion (10%); respond to informal, weekly writing prompts (15%); and participate in class discussion through verbal contributions and/or written contributions to the class blog (10%).

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