“Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America” by Christopher Bram— Changing What and How We Read
Bram, Christopher. “Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America”, Twelve, 2012.
Changing What and How We Read
One of the new books coming our way is a book I cannot wait to read. It was World War II that acted as a catalyst for gay writers to become powerful in American letters and while coming out as gay could mean career suicide, several did and in doing so became the forefathers of what we have now. They totally changed the literary landscape of this country. Christopher Bram was lucky enough to be one who profited by what these brave men did. A wonderful gay writer himself, he now looks backwards at the men who opened the literary closet doors. By coming out in their writings, these authors also were responsible for a rise in gay consciousness.
Bram first looks at what he considers to be the first wave of major literary figures and it included Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, Allen Ginsberg and James Baldwin. It was these men who set the stage for the future generations of gay writers and in that new generation are Armistead Maupin, Tony Kushner, Edward Albee and of course, the man who has remained at the steering wheel of gay writers, Edmund White. And there are others in both waves including the Violet Quill which was a group of gay writers who demanded to be heard. While Williams, Vidal and Capote were good friends that was not true for all of the writers and there were intrigues and feuds.
Bram takes us on a tour of fifty years of gay literature and he begins it at a time when being gay was a crime in forty-nine states and brings us to a period where gay marriage is legal in some of the United States. A book like this shows just how far we have come.
- Posted in: GLBT non-fiction