NameLee, Rick H. (author), Miller, Richard (chair), Edwards, Brent (internal member), Williams, Carolyn (internal member), Sifuentes-J?uregui, Ben (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectLiteratures in English,
Homosexuality and literature,
DescriptionThis dissertation theorizes the crucial role that reading plays in the lives of gay men. Through their encounters with diverse texts and archives, gay male readers seek to become literate with different bodies of knowledge and, in the process, to gain a sense of self and a sense of belonging to a larger collectivity. However, because gay male culture lacks formalized or default institutions of world-making--namely, of learning, remembering, and inheriting--gay male readers (and writers) must constantly struggle to acquire, preserve, and transmit across the generations their literary-aesthetic and cultural traditions. Their struggle with the problem of generational transmission has been exacerbated in the last three decades by the AIDS epidemic.
The dissertation's introductory chapter provides a preliminary history of gay male readers and their literate practices. In each of the dissertation's four main chapters, I examine the interrelations between the problem of generationality and the problem of different forms of cultural literacy. Chapter One reframes the debate about the "gay generation gap" in relation to issues of "gay cultural literacy." Chapter Two explores the interimplications of acquiring and transmitting print-based and oral-based cultural literacies in the work of British author, playwright, and performance artist Neil Bartlett. Chapter Three, focusing on the short fiction of American author Allen Barnett, considers the interplay of high-cultural literacy and "AIDS literacy," a body of knowledge that combines familiarity with biomedical discourse, awareness of cultural debates, and sensitivity to how sexual subjects negotiate desire and risk. In Chapter Four, I investigate the curious prevalence of ghosts in AIDS narratives and suggest that these texts invite readers to cultivate a "spectral literacy" as a strategy for remembering the consequences of the AIDS epidemic. The dissertation's epilogue juxtaposes my own literacy narrative--specifically, my past experience of learning ESL, or the acculturation process I name "English as a shaming language"--with my later encounters with the work of gay Chinese American writers and artists such as Justin Chin and Frank Liu.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Rick H. Lee
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.