Homosexuality in Cold War America: Resistance and the Crisis of Masculinity / Edition 1

Homosexuality in Cold War America: Resistance and the Crisis of Masculinity / Edition 1

by Robert J. Corber
     
 

Challenging widely held assumptions about postwar gay male culture and politics, Homosexuality in Cold War America examines how gay men in the 1950s resisted pressures to remain in the closet. Robert J. Corber argues that a form of gay male identity emerged in the 1950s that simultaneously drew on and transcended left-wing opposition to the Cold War cultural and… See more details below

Overview

Challenging widely held assumptions about postwar gay male culture and politics, Homosexuality in Cold War America examines how gay men in the 1950s resisted pressures to remain in the closet. Robert J. Corber argues that a form of gay male identity emerged in the 1950s that simultaneously drew on and transcended left-wing opposition to the Cold War cultural and political consensus. Combining readings of novels, plays, and films of the period with historical research into the national security state, the growth of the suburbs, and postwar consumer culture, Corber examines how gay men resisted the "organization man" model of masculinity that rose to dominance in the wake of World War II. By exploring the representation of gay men in film noir, Corber suggests that even as this Hollywood genre reinforced homophobic stereotypes, it legitimized the gay male "gaze." He emphasizes how film noir's introduction of homosexual characters countered the national "project" to render gay men invisible, and marked a deep subversion of the Cold War mentality. Corber then considers the work of gay male writers Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, and James Baldwin, demonstrating how these authors declined to represent homosexuality as a discrete subculture and instead promoted a model of political solidarity rooted in the shared experience of oppression.

Homosexuality in Cold War America reveals that the ideological critique of the dominant culture made by gay male authors of the 1950s laid the foundation for the gay liberation movement of the following decade. It will be of interest to a wide range of readers, including students and scholars in the fields of American literature, film, and gay studies.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822319641
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
05/28/1997
Series:
New Americanists Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.13(h) x 0.78(d)

Meet the Author


Robert Corber is an associate professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Trinity College. He is the author of Homosexuality in Cold War America: Resistance and the Crisis of Masculinity (1997), In the Name of National Security: Hitchcock, Homophobia, and the Political Construction of Gender in Postwar America (1993), and co-editor of Queer Studies: An Interdisciplinary Reader (2003).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: I'm Really a Queen Myself1
Pt. 1Film Noir and the Political Economy of Cold War Masculinity21
1Masculinizing the American Dream: Discourses of Resistance in the Cold War Era23
2Resisting the Lure of the Commodity: Laura and the Spectacle of the Gay Male Body55
3"Real American History": Crossfire and the Increasing Invisibility of Gay Men in the Cold War Era79
Pt. 2Gay Male Cultural Production in the Cold War Era105
4Tennessee Williams and the Politics of the Closet107
5Gore Vidal and the Erotics of Masculinity135
6A Negative Relation to One's Culture: James Baldwin and the Homophobic Politics of Form160
Conclusion: The Work of Transformation191
Notes199
Index237

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