Comparative Literature | Spec Topics in Comparative Literature: Classic Gay Literature
C301 | 18583 | J. Johnson

3 cr
Meets MW 4:00 - 5:15 pm
Fulfills CS and A&H Distribution Credit

The Department of Comparative Literature is pleased to offer its
first course devoted to the study of gay literature from around the
world. We will be reading Thomas Mann's Death in Venice, Yukio
Mishima's Confessions of a Mask, Tennessee Williams' Suddenly Last
Summer, Virginia Woolf's Orlando, Annie Proulx' "Brokeback
Mountain," Plato's Symposium, and the lyric poetry of C. P. Cavafy.
These texts represent cultures as far apart as Japan and Egypt,
ancient Greece and 21st century U.S. Our chief goal will be to
examine how these writers transform same-sex experience into
literature. Throughout the semester we will be focusing on themes of
social repression and class consciousness, gender stereotypes versus
biological sex, definitions of beauty, the operations of desire, and
their expression through artistic creativity. In addition to reading
novels, drama, and poetry, we will watch film adaptations of two of
our texts: the Williams play and the Proulx short story. Semester
workload will include three analytical essays, one take-home exam,
and outside readings on historical contexts and the status of gay
people in the writers' cultures. This course is open to all
interested persons, but it is recommended that you have completed
the university's undergraduate composition requirement. For more
information, send an e-mail to