Gay Voices of the Harlem Renaissance

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Indiana University Press, 2003 - Literary Criticism - 209 pages
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"Heretofore scholars have not been willing—perhaps, even been unable for many reasons both academic and personal—to identify much of the Harlem Renaissance work as same-sex oriented.... An important book." —Jim Elledge

This groundbreaking study explores the Harlem Renaissance as a literary phenomenon fundamentally shaped by same-sex-interested men. Christa Schwarz focuses on Countée Cullen, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and Richard Bruce Nugent and explores these writers' sexually dissident or gay literary voices. The portrayals of men-loving men in these writers' works vary significantly. Schwarz locates in the poetry of Cullen, Hughes, and McKay the employment of contemporary gay code words, deriving from the Greek discourse of homosexuality and from Walt Whitman. By contrast, Nugent—the only "out" gay Harlem Renaissance artist—portrayed men-loving men without reference to racial concepts or Whitmanesque codes. Schwarz argues for contemporary readings attuned to the complex relation between race, gender, and sexual orientation in Harlem Renaissance writing.

 

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Contents

The Burden
25
His virtues are many
48
A true peoples poet
68
enfant terrible
88
The Quest for Beauty
120
Conclusion
142
BIBLIOGRAPHY
187
INDEX
203
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

A. B. Christa Schwarz is an independent scholar and lives in Germany.

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