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The Male Body in Medicine and Literature$
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Andrew Mangham and Daniel Lea

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786940520

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786940520.001.0001

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date: 30 May 2020

Southern Gothic and the Queer Male Body

Southern Gothic and the Queer Male Body

Chapter:
(p.221) Chapter Twelve Southern Gothic and the Queer Male Body
Source:
The Male Body in Medicine and Literature
Author(s):
Thomas Lawrence Long
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781786940520.003.0013

The homosexual male body as a threatening transmitter of social and libidinal disquiet is addressed by Thomas Long in relation to writing of the American South. He argues that argues that in the post-1945 period, and particularly prior to the Stonewall riots of 1969, the gay male body has increasingly replaced the black body in Southern culture as the abject Other, drawing down on it homophobic violence as a consequence. Working with Eve Sedgwick’s premise that, as a genre, the gothic codifies a form of ‘homophobic thematics’, Long considers how the specific religious, geographical and political intensities of Southern culture are grafted onto that base. The tensions between normative moralities and reactive deviancies that characterise the gothic tradition are heightened by the historical fact of slavery in the American South, which creates a tradition of scapegoating the black body as symbolic of social fears. Underlying that, and more evident in the integrationist period of Civil Rights protest, is a deeply confused struggle between homosocial and homosexual relations. In a range of texts that straddle Stonewall, Long detects a quarrel between what he calls a ‘blazoning’ attitude towards self-expression and the repressive demonisation of the queer body through homophobic discourse.

Keywords:   Homosexuality, Male body, Stonewall, Homophobia, American South

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