During the late 1940’s and 1950’s, argues David Savran, the baiting and brutalization of “communists and queers” were high on the national agenda. Within this historical context, Communist, Cowboys, and Queers offers a bold and radical reassessment of the works of theater’s most prominent and respected figures - Arthur Miller, the alleged communist, and Tennessee Williams, the self-acknowledged “queer.” Savran analyzes the radically different configurations of gender and sexuality in Miller’s and Williams’s writings and studies the ways in which each confronted and negotiated the postwar homophobic and anticommunism crusades. Through a detailed reexamination of their plays, films, and short stories, Savran argues against the popular images of both playwrights and the findings of most academic critics. Ultimately, his provocative exploration of the constitution of the Old Left, the demographic changes following World War II, the gay rights movement, the New Left, and the counterculture distinguishes Communists, Cowboys, and Queers as the first book rigorously to historicize the achievements of Miller and Williams.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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