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Uncloseting Drama

Uncloseting Drama: Modernism's Queer Theatres

nick salvato
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Uncloseting Drama
    Book Description:

    In this elegant book, modernism is illuminated through little-known but striking works by Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, and others who revived the "closet drama"-plays written largely for private reading-as a means of exploring forbidden sexualities.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-16017-8
    Subjects: Performing Arts, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. introduction: “half in and half out”
    (pp. 1-26)

    In the introduction toTrash Trio, a collection of three of his early screenplays, the filmmaker John Waters explains for his readers, with typical cheekiness, the use value of a printed edition of his work:

    Finally, in the best Mickey Rooney–Judy Garland tradition, you can now put on my movies like little plays in the privacy of your own home. Some rainy Saturday afternoon, just call all your friends together and yell, “Hey, kids, let’s doPink Flamingos!” Every hideous word of these films is right here in black and white, so you don’t have to rely on a...

  5. 1 fronting pound
    (pp. 27-59)

    To propose a queer reading of Ezra Pound is, frankly, a little queer. Or to propose a recuperative queer reading of Pound, at any rate, must seem like a curious move, since homophobia can be easily, though somewhat anachronistically, linked to the more familiar burdens of fascism, anti-Semitism, and misogyny with which critics have rightly charged Pound. Indeed, we might go so far as to claim that Pound’s palpable aversion to same-sex desires and practices cannot be thoughtapartfrom his aversions to capitalism, Jews, and at least certain kinds of women. As Jean-Michel Rabaté has compellingly argued, sodomy—a...

  6. 2 bottoming zukofsky
    (pp. 60-98)

    At the outset of his correspondencewith Ezra Pound, Louis Zukofsky seems to have been anxiously aware of the homoerotic potential in exchanges between men of letters. Zukofsky began the correspondence when he submitted his “Poem Beginning ‘The’” to Pound for publication inThe Exile, and his third letter to Pound, dated December 23, 1927, registers his excitement over Pound’s enthusiastic response to this work:

    Dear Mr. Pound:

    The 18 Aug. you wrote me a very kind letter on my ms., Poem Beginning “The.” I answered to Rapallo with an enthusiasm that maybe deserved a “don’t get gay”; also with emendations....

  7. 3 topping stein
    (pp. 99-137)

    In a 1935 interview with the young novelist John Hyde Preston, Gertrude Stein speaks with unusual frankness about the role of sex in literature: “Sex and death are the springs of the most valid of human emotions. But they are not all; they are not even all emotion. . . . Literature—creative literature—unconcerned with sex is inconceivable. But not literary sex, because sex is a part of something of which the other parts are not sex at all. No, Preston, it is really amatter of tone. You can tell, if you can tell anything, by the way a...

  8. 4 backing barnes
    (pp. 138-176)

    In an interview given to James Scott late in her life, Djuna Barnes, never one to pull any punches, offered a biting portrait of fellow American expatriate Gertrude Stein: “[Stein] couldn’t write for beans! But she did write ‘A rose is a rose is a rose’—that was good. The only thing she ever wrote that was. D’you know what she said of me? Said I had beautiful legs! Now, what does that have to do with anything? She said I had beautiful legs! Now, I mean, what—what did she saythatfor? I mean if you[’]re going to...

  9. conclusion: other closets, other rooms
    (pp. 177-188)

    When I saw Jackson Mac Low perform the opening piece fromBarnesbookat a National Poetry Foundation conference in the summer of 2004, I had the uncanny and exhilarating feeling that all of the strands of this project were coming together and being enacted—emerging from the closet, as it were—before my very eyes. Other audience members at Mac Low’s reading included Lyn Hejinian and Bob Perelman, both of whom had participated in the performance of theL.Z. Masquein San Francisco, 1978. At the same conference, a colleague delivered a paper on Stein’sIda, a text whose composition...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 189-200)
    (pp. 201-214)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 215-227)